The Rio Olympics happened a couple of years ago but there another little Olympics took place right here. Imphal hosted India’s first-ever North East Olympic Games from October 24-28. Around 1,500 athletes competed in 12 disciplines including Athletics, Archery, Badminton, Boxing, Football, Judo, Karate-Do, Shooting, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Weightlifting and Wushu. Winning 80 Gold, 48 Silver and 31 Bronze medals, Manipur emerged as champions in the five-day sporting event began on October 24. Assam’s contingent was the largest with 253 participants while Tripura’s contingent was the smallest with 151 athletes.
The North East Olympic Games aim to provide exposure and experience to young participants and inspire future sportspersons. Organized by Manipur Olympic Association (MOA), the games aim to be a grooming ground for young talent and increase cooperation between northeastern states.
But more than that, the Games will provide the required sports infrastructure that the region has been lacking ever since Imphal hosted became the first northeastern city to host the National Games. Though Guwahati has seen a considerable addition to infrastructure owing to various international events from ISL to Elite Senior Boxing, T20 and FIFA U-17, the rest of the region is yet to develop the capability to host international events, despite producing successful sportspersons such as Baichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri and Mary Kom.