A six-storey Nagaland Olympic Association (NOA) office complex at Officer’s Hill, Kohima was inaugurated by chief minister Neiphiu Rio Saturday with all amenities– a common facility centre for all athletes, a separate cell for the disabilities, a full-fledged gym and office for the administrative staff and a restaurant etc.
The office complex, which will also host 22 sports associations affiliated with the NOA.
Inaugurating the new NOA complex, Rio, who is also the NOA president, termed it as a historic and proud moment for the Nagas and that he felt particularly privileged in the presence of several renowned sports personalities of the country being present to encourage, and show solidarity with NOA.
While lamenting that the state was deemed as “a disturbed state” and with AFSPA in place and despite being a poor and resource crunched state, having no industry, a consumer and not a producing society, Rio said somehow, Nagaland was able to develop some sports infrastructure.
Unlike other states, Rio said Nagaland does not get resources from corporate houses through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for creating sports infrastructure, sponsor sporting events. However, Rio said his government was giving more focus on sports and games despite resource crunch coming in the way.
He said several sporting complexes that have come out in the state were mainly due to the persistence of NOA officials, colleagues and well-wishers.
He also disclosed that he and his colleagues in the government have decided to complete the decades-old unfinished “white elephant” -Multi Discipline Sports Complex (MDSC) at Dimapur- whose construction was stalled after funds stopped with the folding up of the Planning Commission.
He said the MDSC will require another Rs. 100 crore to be completed which his government will take up because “we have hope in the youths.”
Rio said youths must be consistent, committed and dedicated to nurture their sporting talents since raw talent cannot compete in modern sports. He said for this reason alone, the state was ready to provide facilities to mould and shape the young people for tomorrow’s sportsman.
Rio also urged the NOA to identify talents with the introduction of the NOA complex and expressed the hope that it will also bring positive change for sportsmanship.
Rio also disclosed that the state plans to host regional games and national games in days ahead, with the South Asian Federation Cross Country Championships to be held in Kohima soon with proper SOPs in the state.
The chief minister inaugurated the complex in the presence of several sports personalities and dignitaries as guests of honour– president of India Olympic Association (IOA), president of International Hockey Federation (IHF) and member International Olympic Committee, Dr Narinder Druv Batra; vice president of IOA & president Athletics Federation of I ndia, Adille Sumariwala; secretary general of IOA Rajeev Mehta, founding president of NOA Er. Lanu Toy, Olympian and Arjuna awardee Chekrovolü Swuro, Padma Shri, Arjuna awardee and former Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia and Arjuna awardee and FIA Asia pacific rally champion Gaurav Gill.
Dr Narinder Druv Batra, lauded the state government for their support and their commitment towards fulfilling their dream for the sports fraternity.
With Olympic sports office set up in states like Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, he said Nagaland now has become the first in North East state to have one.
Batra, who was among the guests of honour, appealed to the chief minister to set up a hockey pitch in the state. He also assured that the IHF would take four youths (two male and female each) to witness the Asian and Common Wealth Games and would be ready to guide and coach them in the days to come.
Nagaland Olympic Association (NOA) general secretary and associate vice president of Athletics Federation of India Abu Metha in his report recalled how Lanu Toy and his colleagues formed and laid the foundation for the Nagaland Olympic Association (NOA).
He said their contribution to the Indian Olympic fraternity will be remembered forever.
Abu said that this complex would inspire every youth and boost the sportsmanship in them.
He also thanked the state government for believing in them (NOA) and mentioned that this complex was a step closer to contributing in the nation building process and hoped that one day Nagas will also bring medals for the country.
In his brief speech, Adille Sumariwala lauded the state government for its endeavour to promote sports. Short speeches were also delivered by Lanu Toy, Rajeev Mehta, Bhaichung Bhutia and Gaurav Gill.
Meanwhile, the chief minister and the guests of honour also inaugurated the Lanu Toy Library, Talimeren conference room and Chekrovolu Hall of motivation.
On the occasion, Arjuna Awardee & Gold medallist at world archery, Chekrovolü Swuro presented her silver medal to the chief minister for the NOA complex to be inducted in the Chekrovolu Hall of motivation to motivate and encourage the youths. The SAFF cross country trophies were unveiled.
Earlier, the welcome address was delivered by NOA joint secretary, Kuputo Shohe while Pastor, City Church Kohima Kedo Peseyie pronounced the invocation prayer.
The event was also attended by NLA speaker Sharingain Longkumer, deputy chief minister Y. Patton, advisors, senior officials and members form the sports fraternity.
Later, a cultural evening was organized for the guests at the Capital Cultural Hall.