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Nurturing an idea

The announcement by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to set up a Sports University in Manipur has been arguably the best news we have had for a while now. The declaration has started to create a buzz in the sports crazy state, and rightly so. The second most populous country in the world with a population of 1,21,01,93,422  as per the 2011 census of Government of India have not been able to produce proportionate number of international sporting figures even after more than six decades of independence. The statistics is piled against India when it comes to taking up initiatives to develop sports in the country. The condition back home does not fare much better. Inspite of Manipur being recognized as the sporting powerhouse of the country, we haven’t been able to scratch the surface when it comes to infrastructures or technical resources to produce, or more importantly, develop talents that can compete with and be counted amongst the best in the world in any discipline. Agreed, the inherent potential and latent sporting talent amongst the youth of the state is huge, and arguably forms the largest and best pool of untapped talent, the innumerable victories in almost every national level championship in all sporting events bearing testimony to this fact. Yet these very national champions at the sub-junior and junior levels seem to fade into oblivion soon after. The reasons are varied, but amongst the most prominent are the absence of, or inadequate financial support coupled with the limited means of earning their own upkeep while engaging in their sporting pursuits as well as the non-viability of carrying on after a certain point due to mounting financial pressures. The sports university, if materialized, could address a large part of these concerns by providing appropriate job opportunities as well as scholarships. Another vital link which is still missing in the general endeavor of sporting fraternity of the country and the state is the absence of technical inputs during training sessions which limits the ability to fully assess the performance of an athlete. These lacunae in the training and assessment methodology can hopefully be bridged with facilities which will definitely be made available if and when the University starts functioning. Application of various developed technologies to enhance performance as well as the opportunity to develop the mental and psychological aspects of athletes can be fully implemented. The unexpectedly pleasant development augurs well for the future of the sports lovers as well as sportspersons of the state, and by extension, the country. Yet there still remains a lingering doubt on the collective mind of the people of the state, as the persons who are presently bearing the responsibility of developing sports in the state have shown their shortcomings and weaknesses in dealing with critical issues which have resulted in various sporting events remaining obscure, testimony of the grim reality of human frailty and induced judgments for which thousands of aspiring athletes are still floundering without the resources and support they rightly deserve. The University is an acknowledgement of the sporting achievements of the people of the state as much as the unmatched pool of talent that will ultimately propel the country to sporting glory from the present state of obscurity. We will benefit only if we all support and give a hand in making the idea into reality.

Maheshwar Gurumayum

William Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since 2013. An avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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