It is indeed Union government’s acknowledgement of Manipur’s unique contribution to sports in India that it chose to hold the third brain-storming session of Youth Affairs and Sports Ministers in Imphal.
Also, whenever Prime Minister Narendra Modi or any other central minister visit Manipur, they talk about the gift of a first-ever National Sports University to the state in recognition and laurels brought about by Manipur sportspersons in the name of the country.
Everyone knows the little state of Manipur is a giant in the field of sports and a powerhouse producing world class athletes across the board.
PM Narendra Modi also keeps repeating about the ace boxer Mary Kom who was nominated as a Rajya Sabha MP by BJP. Manipur’s own Saikhom Mirabai Chanu won the first ever medal for India in 2021 Tokyo Olympics and S Nilakanta Sharma of one of the architects of India’s bronze medal in Hockey while Sushila Chanu had her day in women hockey in the said Olympics even though India could not get a berth in the top three.
In the discipline of football, the state is doing quite well in the national front, and even at the international front what with Bala Devi earning the No 10 jersey and shining in the Scottish League. Manipur has given India world champions in boxing and weightlifting, as well as footballers of national stature and acclaim.
The most famous - from the 90s onwards, Renedy Singh and Gouramangi Singh Moirangthem, from the last decade Udanta Singh and goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem. The Indian Soccer League has about 40 Manipuri players now playing for different football clubs in the country, the highest for any state.
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Of course, we all agree that the National Sports University is NarendraModi’s gift to the state. He laid the foundation stone for the National Sports University on 16 March 2018.
Whether we are turning this opportunity into our advantage or are the NSU authorities doing justice to the gift is another question altogether. What we know is that, NSU is moving at a turtle pace and with a gifted football player at the helm of affairs in the state now, something ought to be done to wake it up from its slumber.
The National Sports University in Imphal is yet to start functioning in view of the complications in land ownership and slow pace of construction activities while the temporary campus at Khuman Lampak is in a slumber. The land dispute has given rise to bandh and blockades by both Kuki and Zeliangrong groups who managed to air their claims to the said parcel of land.
Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur visited the said campus this Tuesday and held a review meeting on the construction of the campus along with state Sports Minister Govindas Konthoujam and other concerned officials.
However, we are still in the dark as to whether the land dispute arising out of the claims and counter-claims had been resolved or not. We know, the progress of the construction activities is far from satisfactory. Now that the Union Minister had personally come down to the campus, we hope things will speed up. Four years have gone by since the announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and it should not to waste.
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