ITANAGAR- ( Pradeep Kumar ) “8 AM Sports Diet Scholarship-22022”, first of its type in India, an initiative of NGO Helping Hands (HH) and sponsored by Gurgaon-based VR Industries Private Limited (VRIPL), was launched by Education Minister-cum-Arunachal Olympic Association (AOA) president Taba Tedir at a function at Banquet Hall here on Thursday creating a history in sports sector.
Applauding HH, president Robin Hibu, for the path breaking inventiveness and sponsors, Tedir, in his address, said that the huge sports potential of Arunachal Pradesh is well known. The small 17-member state team created a record in 36th National Games-2022 held recently at Ahmadabad in Gujarat by winning seven medals while states taking part with 300 to 400 players had drawn blank. Thus, Chief Minister Pema Khandu had paid cash award of Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2 lakh to gold and silver medal winners respectively, he said.
Though, the state Govt has notified its sports policy priorities eight sports disciplines, various cash incentives and 5% reservation in all Govt jobs and 10% for police department, he said that the concern of need for nutritious food stuffs for players to play well would be solved by this scholarship. He conveyed gratitude of the state, its Govt, the people and AOA to Helping Hands and sponsor.
While congratulating the awardees, he called upon state players to get ready to play with commitment in ensuing 2nd North East Olympic Games-2022, slated during October 30 to November 6 next and win as many as medals.
The HH is a multifaceted NGO engaged in humanitarian services, he said and recalled how his brother’s mortal remains after he died at Chandigarh were flown to Dibrugarh and had reached his native place Yazali by road facilitated by the HH. Moreover, Hibu has ability to identify human capacity as those certified by him as volunteers of police department have been mostly employed as cops. Thus, this scholarship would help to convert Arunachal into sports house of India, Tedir added.
Recalling how he conceived the idea, HH president Hibu, said that a state team had come to Delhi few years ago to take part in a national sports championship, when a coach after interacting with the players had given poor impression about their diet saying that was affecting their performance.
It is a fact that NE players and talented despite lack of sports infrastructures and adequate coaching. Good players always create good impression, he said, adding khelogey kudogey, hogey badnaam, padhogey likhogey banogey nawab proverb has been reversed by spectacular performances of NE players. Boxers Mary Kom of Manipur, who won bronze medal in 2012 Summer Olympics) and Lovlina Borgohain of Assam, who won a bronze medal in Tokyo Olympics-2020, are glittering examples. Why not you, he questioned?
Scouting in national capital ultimately helped to locate VRIPL, which has been supplying food stuffs to the Army, the Navy and Indian Air Force personnel, even those deployed in Siachen international border area, he said, adding that the diet would reach respective homes of awardees every month.
Though 50 players from all NE states were selected through a stringent process following Olympic guidelines, particularly those who have made their marks in state, regional and national sports events, but 31 winners are from Arunachal, he disclosed, adding cash if given could be misused for which it was decided to give as nutritious diet besides Rs 10,001 each.
He exhorted them to maintain discipline and their tempo as a robust system of HH with AOA would strictly monitor their activities. He hoped that Arunachal soon produce Olympians, like Mary Kom and Borgohain.
VRIPL CEO Kush Lakhanpal announced to offer such food stuffs for students of lone Sange Lhaden Sports Academy (SLSA), Chimpu. 40 each girl and boy students of SLSA, including few awardees were present.
“Instead of enjoyment, you are expected to prove your caliber in national and global events to win gold medals,” sports director Tadar Appa said, adding “you should make all possible efforts and the department would extend all possible help”.
AOA secretary general Bamang Tago, in his address earlier, said that Hibu as Papum Pare district SP had made various reforms to remove the psychological barrier to bring police closer to the public as their friends. The tangible effects of his reforms are visible across the state even now, he said, adding that the scholarship has fixed responsibility on all awardees to prove themselves in their respective disciplines.
Terming Hibu, who has gone beyond his call of duty to promote NE sports persons, a great source of inspiration, horticulture secretary Koj Riniya said that and it becomes bounded responsibility of the awardees to prove their worth as they would be under constant observation.