To give a boost to the growing enthusiasm in sports, the Chief Minister Pema Khandu offered to host the 2026 National Games in Arunachal Pradesh and said an official proposal will be submitted to the union sports ministry and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). He, meanwhile, revealed that the Ministry had agreed to let Arunachal Pradesh host the 2024 National Games.
While speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 3rd State Olympics Games at Sangey Lhaden Sports Academy (SLSA) here, Khandu said that “I am a very practical man. I knew we wouldn’t be able to create the infrastructure needed to host the National Games by 2024. But by 2026, I assure our state will be fully ready to host it,” he said.
He requested Rajiv Mehta, Secretary General of the Indian Olympic Association, who was also present on the occasion as the Guest of Honour, to positively consider the proposal at his level in the Association.
Mehta, on his part, assured to support the proposal when it comes up for consideration in the Indian Olympic Association. He saw no reason for his colleagues in the Association not to permit Arunachal Pradesh host the 2026 National Games.
The IOA Secretary General expressed optimism that the North East, particularly Arunachal Pradesh, would excel in athletics and sports and bring laurels at the international level for India.
“I can foresee a bright future. When you have excelled despite lack of proper facilities and infrastructure, I can see no reasons for you not to excel at the international level when all facilities come up in the next few years,” he said while appreciating the Chief Minister’s commitment to develop sports infrastructure in the state.
Acknowledging that Arunachal Pradesh, in recent years, has made a quantum jump in the games and sports sector, Chief Minister Pema Khandu today announced the state government’s commitment to pay special attention to the sector in terms of funds in the next few years.
The Chief Minister informed that Arunachal Pradesh will be the biggest gainer from the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission as per an interim report and assured that special provisions will be kept for developing sports infrastructure in the state.
“The potential of our sports persons has been proved in the recent Khelo India Games, wherein we emerged third amongst the Northeastern states and 23rd in the country. We will focus in improving the overall sports scenario of the state during this five-year term,” he said.
Khandu attributed the success to the vision of the Prime Minister in channelizing the youth force in games and sports especially through the Khelo India initiative. He said by allotting the Youth Affairs and Sports ministry to one of the most hardworking central ministers, Kiren Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, shows the commitment of the Prime Minister in developing the sector, particularly that of the North East.
“We in the state government are committed to produce future Olympians by providing all required facilities, incentives and infrastructure,” he said.
While citing that due to discontinuation of the Special Plan Allocation (SPA), several sports infrastructures couldn’t be completed, Khandu however informed that the state government has sanctioned gap funds for completion of all such infrastructure.
He informed that stadiums at Ziro, Pasighat, Daporijo have been completed others at Aalo, Yupia, Tezu and SLSA are in various stages of completion. He said the government plans to have one quality outdoor stadium in every district of the state.
Khandu also agreed to support construction of a State Olympic Bhavan provided the sports department identified a suitable plot of land in the state capital vicinity.
While the Chief Minister declared open the 3rd State Olympic Games, the opening ceremony witnessed action-packed demonstrations by state’s Wushu, Karate, Taekwondo and Judo teams. The Games that will see hundreds of athletes from the districts vie for the top honors in 15 categories is scheduled to conclude on March 15th.
Also present in the opening ceremony were state’s Sports & Youth Affairs Minister Mama Natung, Education Minister Taba Tedir, Namsai Legislator Zingnu Namchoom, Sports Authority of India (SAI) Regional Director Subhash Basumatary, Working President of the Meghalaya Olympics Association J F Kharshiing, Arunachal Olympic Association officials, officers and officials of the state Sports department and representatives of various sports associations and federations of the state.