Sports Friendly

Every budding sportsperson—and there are many talented boys and girls in the State—should feel encouraged seeing the efforts been given by the present government for the promotion of sports in Nagaland. Considering the new found initiatives in the sports arena—Nagaland’s maiden participation at the just concluded National Games and the first ever Nagaland Sports Awards function—it can be said that the State Sports Policy is heading in the right direction. And for this, due credit must go to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and his team of young enthusiastic officers who have worked behind the scenes to give shape and push forward the new, youth friendly, state sports policy. As pointed out by Rio, one of the highlights of the Nagaland State Sports Policy is the commitment to extend due recognition to successful sportspersons who win medals at various national and international levels by extending cash incentives and citations. 

The gesture to officially recognize performance of sportspersons earlier unheard of in Nagaland is welcomed and will no doubt be a huge source of encouragement for the youths in particular. Likewise, the incorporation of award for coaches who produce results is also a welcome move as it will motivate them to work harder to produce quality teams and individuals to compete at the highest level. Further, the decision to give appropriate cash incentives to medal winners at the junior national level should also encourage younger talents to come through a healthy sports system on to the bigger stage. The added advantage of focusing on this segment is that it will help in harnessing the vast pool of available talent and help produce a constant flow of dedicated and quality sportspersons from the various disciplines. 

Coming to the awards given out, the decision to give employment to the lone Gold medalist P. Silas and the only lady silver medalist Bendangzungla in the police department, in recognition of their recent performance, is also welcomed. However the government will have to cautiously move on how it plans to implement the five percent job reservation under sports quota. Proper criteria must be laid down before implementing this step so as to ensure that no room is left for confusion or controversy to arise in the near future. It is important not to politicize decision making in such cases and a strict ‘performance parameter’ will have to be followed. 

Side by side, the government will have to give the extra push for the development of sports infrastructure in the State—something which is woefully lacking at present. While the establishment of the Indira Gandhi Stadium, Kohima and addition of many new facilities to the complex has created a major asset, the government will have to ensure that this public property which belongs to the people of Nagaland does not go into disuse or misuse and fall into the wrong hands. Proper care must be taken for its protection and maintenance. Similarly, sports infrastructure must also be developed outside of Kohima and Dimapur and growth centres of sports must be set up in the lesser known districts if at all the vision of the sports policy has to have any real impact and growth overall.