Eyeing a podium finish in Khelo India soccer: Syiemlieh

GUWAHATI: Meghalaya is yet to open its account in the medal tally, four days into the 3rd Khelo India Youth Games here, but going by its strengths, a podium finish in football appears bright.

The state under-21 boys’ football team also began its campaign on a winning note defeating Odisha 1-0 with Baiaikara Swer scoring the lone goal in a fast-paced match at the flood-lit Nehru Stadium here on Monday evening.

Speaking to The Shillong Times ahead of the match, sports manager, Khlain Pyrkhat Syiemlieh said he believed that there was a good chance of a medal in football at the ongoing multi-discipline event.

“Our football team has qualified to the youth games here directly. So we are upbeat as far as excelling in football is concerned even as in some of the other disciplines, there have been wild card entries,” Syiemlieh said.

Meghalaya is taking part in five (football, athletics, boxing, shooting and judo) out of 22 disciplines at the Khelo India Youth Games here.

“We do have a few talented youths in the other disciplines. Tomorrow, a promising athlete who qualified directly, Marso Kyndait will be taking part in the 1500 metres event of the under-21 category. We have high hopes in boxing where six pugilists are competing. However, our lone judo participant bowed out after losing today,” he said.

He further said that two shooters, Dennyson Kyrsian (Under-21), Shirley Mary Kharbuli (Under-17), who were taking part for the first time at such a level, gained exposure in the training camps ahead of the event.

“The Khelo India Youth Games will for sure serve as a good platform for our youths in disciplines which have not been traditionally our strengths. Soccer is popularly followed in Meghalaya and the system of developing football in the state is also very good. With time and infrastructure post the National Games, I am sure we will see more sportspersons in other disciplines taking part in events like this and excelling,” Syiemlieh said.

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