Northeast athletes demand better infrastructure

New Delhi: Athletes of the Northeast, who were felicitated at the 60th Plenary Session of Northeast Council held here on Thursday, have requested the government to provide them with better infrastructure facilities and support so that they can make a mark at the international level.

Thirteen players that included ten from Manipur, one each from Sikkim and Assam were awarded cash prizes for their stupendous performance in the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) and Asian Games.

Ace tennis player Somdev Devvarman bagged four awards for his magnificent performance at both the events and took away a sum of Rs. 33 lakh.

This was in fact a great stage for the athletes from the Northeast, as they got recognition at the highest level, which they had been longing for years.

Female boxer Monica Devi, who won a bronze at the Commonwealth Games said: "I am very happy to see Northeast players being felicitated. This will not only boost the players, but also others who are trying to follow their footsteps."

The players seemed more pumped up for winning many more laurels for the nation in the upcoming events. "When we get facilities and all the support, then we can win medals and I think, we still need more facilities for sports in the Northeast," said Jayanta Talukdar, the star archer, who won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games.

"I want to tell the government that they should give more money to the players," said Yumnam Renu Bala Chanu, who earned India`s first gold medals at the Commonwealth Games weightlifting competition.

Some eminent international level players like MC Marykom, Gourmangi Singh and Baichung Bhutia, who have brought laurels to the nation hail from this region.

Sports infrastructure in Northeast has been lacking because of prolonged insurgency, which has hampered overall development of the region and prevented youth from coming forward and showcasing their potential.

But with many underground groups now engaged in talks with the Centre, the socio-political situation in the region has improved, paving the way for young talent to come up.


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