MSOA eyes eco-system for youths to excel in sports

GUWAHATI: Meghalaya State Olympic Association (MSOA) is on a mission to create the much-needed ecosystem for talented youths in the state to excel in multi-discipline events.

Referring to the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games here where a 36-member team of athletes is taking part, MSOA working president, John F. Kharshiing, said all state zonal and especially national and international youth tournaments are excellent opportunities and platforms for the state’s youth to showcase their skills.

“The MSOA’s mission is therefore to create the much-needed ecosystem for talented youths in the state, which includes producing community coaches, qualified coaches, sports medicine and performance centre professionals, internationally certified fitness experts, and of course, providing the necessary world-class infrastructure,” Kharshiing, who had attended the opening ceremony of the Khelo India Youth Games here, told The Shillong Times on Monday.

To this effect, he said a few milestones achieved are the conduct of a digital analytical testing programme, the first of its kind in the country by the department of sports and youth affairs to search talent from age six to 18 during 2017-2018, the co-hosting of the South Asian Games 2016, the bid and allotment of the 2022 National Games and finally signing of the Host City Contract in January 2018 between the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Meghalaya government and MSOA.

“Besides, approval of an exhaustive sports policy during June last year and the declaration by the state government to support the Meghalaya Games being held after almost 13 years are initiatives that will slowly but surely put Meghalaya on the sporting map. Even without proper infrastructure and proper coaches we are winning medals in a number of disciplines. But we need to go deep to find the tremendous talent available,” Kharshiing said.

The MSOA working president said that there was an urgent need by the Union sports ministry to review the status of the 40-acre SAI campus in NEHU and upgrade it to a regional centre. “Presently Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh are under Assam regional centre, which is not adequate. When we have separate states, why is the sports ministry creating sub centers in states? Sadly there are only a few displines being conducted at SAI, NEHU,” he said.

“The Union human resources development ministry must plan to invest more sports infrastructure in the universities. Meghalaya has around 10 state universities. However, they are yet to show sports initiatives with the MSOA on the ground,” Kharshiing added.

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