Advisor to chief minister and Investment and Development Authority of Nagaland (IDAN) chairman Abu Metha, maintained that sport has transformed into a modern-day battlefield with countries achieving success in international events such as Olympics and Commonwealth Games perceived as global superpowers.
Speaking as special guest at the concluding day of the Li-Ning 45th Nagaland State Masters Open Badminton Championships, at the DBC Indoor Stadium on Saturday, Metha said that Nagaland needed to excel in sports so as to secure its place on the world stage. “If Nagaland has to find our own footing in the world, we should try to excel in sport,” he stated, adding that Nagaland must now change the narrative in its approach to sport.
IDAN chairman also highlighted the efforts of the state government and Nagaland Olympic Association (NOA) under the chief minister’s guidance to revolutionize the sports landscape in the state. “We have the potential; we need to put in the works and investment. In sports, we need to inculcate mental strength to win medals,” he stated.
Metha asserted that the journey of sport in the state was beginning to change, but added that the state still had a long way to go.
Assuring the support of both the people and the government, Metha pledged that the NOA would give its best to foster success in sports.
He also stressed the need for a new narrative and expressed confidence that Nagaland, with its youthful energy and enthusiasm, could be known for the right reasons globally. Metha encouraged young people to embrace sports, envisioning a future marked by success stories and victories at the global level.
He said that Nagaland has contributed to nation building in the fields of music, art, entertainment, and sports. Metha said badminton was a sport where Nagas could excel citing scientific research which suggests Mongoloid race, to which the Nagas belong, excelling in hand-eye coordination.
Metha noted there was vast scope and potential for badminton in the state.
He said that badminton, like all sports, was an education in itself, fostering skills such as stamina, strength, hand-eye coordination, and reflexes.
The special guest acknowledged and congratulated the Nagaland Badminton Association on attaining 50 years.
He appealed to all sections of society, especially the sports community, to unite and work together to propel Nagaland to greater heights in the world of sports.
Meanwhile, Atu Pongener, the first NIS Badminton Coach in Nagaland, shared the story about how badminton found its roots in Nagaland back in the late 1960s.
Pongener shared about the unexpected turn of events when he was selected by the state government to undergo training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala in 1968 when he was working as a teacher in a private school, even though he did not apply. Undeterred, Pongener stated that he embraced the opportunity and underwent rigorous training for a year, along with another individual passionate about football.
In the middle of 1969, recognizing the absence of badminton competitions, Pongener stated that he suggested the need for district wise high school coaching for badminton.
By 1970, Pongener said badminton was successfully introduced as a competitive game in the inter-high school tournament. After several years, with the inclusion of a Manipuri coach, he said the scope expanded beyond high schools to colleges.
Pongener encouraged young and old players to stick to the game, take charge of their roles, and fully devote themselves to it. He expressed hope that, with support, Nagaland could produce talented individuals in all spheres.
Earlier, the programme was chaired by DDBA president, Dr George Thira, and invocation was offered by senior Pastor, The Kingdom Church, Rev. Saphrulie Solo.
Presidential address was delivered by NBA president, Kesonyü Yhome and a special presentation by Manchai, while Abu Metha released NBA Golden Jubilee Coffee Table Book and concluding remarks was delivered by NBA advisory board, Y Vikheho Swu.
Categories Winner Runners Up
Men’s Singles (35) Imnatoshi Longkumer Joshua Keppen
Men’s Doubles (35) Tongpangmeren Imsong + Imliwapang Tzudir Along Jamir + Pusutemjen Longkumer
Men’s Singles (40) Meyiakum Jamir Hekato Swu
Men’s Doubles (40) K. Pikuto+Kavito
Er. Y. Akito Sema+Hekato Swu
Men’s Singles (45) Tajenkaba Ao Haidingsap Zeliang
Men’s Doubles (45) K. Pikuto+Kavito Dr. Wati+Kuhozhe
Men’s Doubles (50) Bendangnochet+Angam Saiza Dr. George+ Saku Jamir
Men’s Singles (55) Yekhuvi Achumi Alem Pongener
Men’s Doubles (55) Saku Jamir+Alem Pongener Dr. Athikho+ Khanngaining