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Stemming the slide

by IT Web Admin
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The people of the state, in a manner unbecoming of them, heralded the conclusion of the 35th National Games with an unusual silence. Clearly, something somewhere went inexplicably against the collective expectations, and there had been an increasing murmur as to the exact reasons behind such a disappointing result. We have read opinions of great sporting minds and the explanations of seasoned commentator which, to put it mildly, reeks of a feeble attempt to put up excuses for the visibly disappointing results. And yet, the changes which brings our sporting reality to the present situation is not an abrupt or immediate one. The signs have been there all along, while those who announced themselves the savior of sports in the state, long regarded as the “Powerhouse of Sports” in the country, persisted in matters which took their much needed attention and support away from where they are required the most.
While most sporting pundits are of the view that the recent result of the 35th National Games does not reflect the true performance of the athletes from the state as there are many athletes from Manipur winning medals while representing other states, the fact remains that these other states who have availed the service of sportsmen from Manipur must have provided them the facilities, support and training required to bring the best out of them. The naturally agile and sports-inclined people of the state still need the facilities, encouragement, support and experience to mould them to be perfect athletes who can compete and defeat the best in the world. What other reason can we think of otherwise, when the budding young athletes from the state have consistently performed beyond expectations in almost every sporting event up to the national level, yet failed to capitulate on their inborn talent in the later years? And what should we make of the total absence of a medal winner from the state in the technically challenging events such as athletics, gymnastics and aquatics?
Perhaps, it would do well for all of us who are concerned with the present turn of events to look back and introspect- 51 golds at the 33rd National Games, Assam, 48 golds at the 34th edition of the games at Jharkhand and 22 golds at the latest edition which concluded at Kerala.
Evidently, it is high time to end the rhetoric and admit the fact that something needs to be done in right earnest if our budding athletes have any chance of reclaiming the past glory for the state. A supportive, understanding and involving atmosphere needs to be created for the athletes to put in their best. Most important of all, they need to be nurtured and mould with care and patience to enable them to peak at the right time. Nothing could be more fragile and critical as an athlete’s short sporting career.    

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