BHALUKPONG- Chief Minister Pema Khandu today kicked-off the Under-17 Boys and Girls State Level Subroto Mukherjee Cup football tournament here at the general ground in West Kameng district. Also present in the inaugural ceremony were Sports Minister Mama Natung, Education Minister Taba Tedir, local legislator Kumsi Sidisow and Education Commissioner Padmini Singla.
The tournament is being participated by at least 50 teams of boys and girls from across the state and will conclude on October 1st.
Khandu congratulated and appreciated the people of Bhalukpong, especially Sidisow and the district administration, for taking up the challenge to host a state level tournament in the quaint little foothill town for the first time.
“Tournaments of state level are mostly organized in the state capital or in district headquarters with proper and adequate infrastructure. Hosting such a tournament with huge participation in Bhalukpong is indeed brave. Kudos to the people of Bhalukpong,” he said.
Khandu also lauded the theme of the tournament – Say yes to life and no to drugs – and reiterated that every tournament should spread the message against drug menace.
“Our youths should be dissuaded from falling into the grip of substance abuse and we can do that by encouraging them to involve in tournaments like this,” he noted.
Assuring that the state government is committed to create and provide infrastructure and platforms for budding sportspersons of the state, Khandu said general grounds in district headquarters are being upgraded and equipped with proper facilities. He said several stadiums have come up in recent years – while some are complete, few are nearing completion.
“India is fast emerging as a leading nation in the sports arena as we have witnessed from the performances of our athletes in the last Olympics and recently held Commonwealth Games. We must in fact express gratitude to the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving the much needed emphasis on the sports sector,” he said.
Khandu cited the Khelo India program of the central government that aims to nurture and offer platform to sportspersons of all age groups.
The Chief Minister, who also happens to be the president of the Arunachal Pradesh Football Association (APFA), informed that the Association has chalked out a roadmap to promote football and scout young talents in the coming years.
Acknowledging the fast growing popularity of futsal amongst the youngsters, Khandu informed that APFA will organize a Futsal Championship in October next with an aim to constitute a state team to participate national level tournaments.
“We will also be holding the state level football tournaments – Indrajit Namchoom Arunachal League from January next year; the Dera Natung Trophy Championship in Oct-Nov this year at Tezu; and the oldest tournament of the state, Tadar Tang State Level Football Tournament in December at Ziro,” he informed.
Admitting that the general ground here needed upgradation, the Chief Minister assured to sanction funds for construction of a cultural centre on it with all facilities including an spectators gallery.
He said that as Bhalukpong is a town with people from almost all the communities of the state settled, a cultural centre was very much a need of the hour for them to celebrate their respective indigenous festivals.
Meanwhile, the inaugural match was played between hosts West Kameng and visitors Namsai. At the end-whistle the hosts had the better of the visitors to start the tournament on a positive note.