State

Experts speak on nurturing sports talents, building infra

Virtual seminar on Olympics

Shillong, July 29: The nurturing of talents in various sports disciplines should start at an early age and there should be a scheme to help develop infrastructure at the grassroots level, working president of Meghalaya State Olympic Association John Kharshiing said on Thursday.

Kharshiing, who was one of the speakers during a virtual seminar on ‘Olympics: Dream and Reality’ organised by Rotary Orchid City Shillong, emphasised the need for an MGNREGA-like scheme so that communities can get sports equipment and playfields. The scheme will also help coaches and physical education teachers to visit different schools for training.

Kharshiing also shared his vision to send athletes from the state to the Olympics by 2028-32. “India’s Tokyo contingent strength is 127 athletes in 18 sports, while USA is 613 in 44 sports and our neighbour China is 777 in 30 sports. India is just scratching the surface we have to move at a faster pace. Another interesting stats is that 75% of the US Tokyo athletes completed collegiate from 169 schools, which means these schools are producing world class champions. Meghalaya is also on its way to creating the eco-system for athletes,” he said.

Among other speakers were national table tennis champion Kamlesh Mehta, former archer Matsiewdor War Nongbri, international award-winning athlete Ian Campbell and convenor of BCCI task force in North East Naba Bhattacharya. The experts shared their views on Olympics and how India can better its chances of winning more medals and nurturing more Olympiads.

Nongbri stressed the importance of education alongside sports for both “physical and mental nourishment”.

Sanjeeva Singh, director (archery) at SAI, said sports academies are crucial for bringing out talents for Olympics. He aptly pointed out that coaches today must be digitally advanced and focus on the overall wellness of sportspersons.

Campbell, who was a long and triple jumper from Australia, rooted for transitional opportunities for sportspersons and concluded that India has a huge talent pool but the youth have to be put in the correct system.

Mehta, on the other hand, appreciate the changing scenario in the sports arena of the country. He acknowledged the support that sportspersons get today from various quarters and said this would encourage more youth to become sportspersons.

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