Sports Developmental Policy

Dr Asangba Tzudir

The 3rd Nagaland Olympic and Paralympic Games 2024 played under the theme, “Stronger Together” has just concluded with lots to take away, and where Kohima district reaffirmed their dominance with triple crown. Sparing the details of the event, two references can be drawn as a starting point relating to policy matters.

The sight of fans being perched on a under-construction building to witness the men’s volleyball final and the court being laid with makeshift tarpaulin does not go in line with the usage of the name Olympics, which is the greatest sporting spectacle on earth. And very rightly, Nagaland Dy. CM. TR Zeliang underscored the need to change or modify the existing sports policy in Nagaland.

Zeliang highlighted that the parameters for accommodating sportspersons in the government jobs in the state must be revisited so that the sportspersons do not end up being unemployed once they cross their prime. He also pointed out the sports quota and the lack of clear cut opportunity when it comes to employment especially for those who have participated in National and International levels and have also brought laurels to the state. That, the need for a comprehensive sport policy was pressing and which should be influenced by a range of actors including not only the State government but inclusive of intergovernmental agencies, as well as local communities and grassroots organizations like the respective tribal sports organizations while stressing on the need to give equal importance to employment of sportspersons and also the urgent need to build sports infrastructure. The makeshift tarpaulin laid on the volleyball court not only cuts a sorry figure but it aptly captures the imagery of the status of sports infrastructure in Nagaland. If only the stadium in Dimapur was completed, and many more of if only conditions. 

What Zeliang has suggested are immediate policy measures for developing sports and sports infrastructural facilities in Nagaland and which will go a long way in developing sports in Nagaland. While there are many policy measures that can be adopted to this end of sports and infrastructural development, a very crucial aspect is the development of human resources and for which human resources development and infrastructural are two sides of the same coin.

The policy focus should be on the grassroots. Yes Nagas had barefoot Heroes in the form of T. Ao but times has changed to prepare the process of building infrastructure so that it will provide avenues to excel at every level - state, national and international. Sports is an art and it has evolved beyond the ‘way’ of playing sport, that it is about the ‘ways’ of playing sports. The ‘ways’ of playing sports needs to be addressed by identifying the inborn talents and then skilling by way of proper training so that a particular discipline of sport becomes an art for a person, that, ‘quality’ and ‘value’ of the ‘way’ of playing a particular sport is developed.       

To learn anything requires at least a certain gift of learning, while the most marked, most firmly implanted individual aptitude can remain unproductive, unappreciated by others unless it is awakened by certain outward circumstances or some favorable environment or fed from certain well-springs of a culture. 

As such, dwelling on the grassroots, having at least a playground in each school with at least the basic sports facilities (to say the least) will go a long way in skilling young people at a very young age. Another integral aspect is the need for intensive coaching camps in disciplines where our people have the advantage and can really excel. For instance, swimming is another sport where our state can really excel, but without any infrastructural facilities, it will remain only a dream for many aspirants. It is also high time for Nagaland to have a sports Academy where sports aspirants can not only learn but also get formal training and skilling in sports.  

The Nagaland Olympics is here to stay and there is an urgent need for revamping the sports policy, and which also needs to seriously address the issue of quality and equitable infrastructural development. And like our Dy. CM. Zeliang said, it requires the co-operation and support of the various stakeholders.    

In the end, it is about the production of quality and which is greatly determined by the dissimilarity in the modes of operation, and hence in the results, also arising from the dissimilarity of the agents.  

(Dr Asangba Tzudir writes a weekly guest editorial for The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to