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Manipur tops Northeast Olympic Games for second consecutive time

Sporting powerhouse Manipur has topped the medal tally of the second Northeast Olympic Games with 237 medals.

Manipur tops Northeast Olympic Games for second consecutive time

Athletes being awarded at Northeast Olympics Games. (source: NE Olympics Website)



Updated: 16 Nov 2022 2:14 PM GMT

Powerhouse Manipur clinched the top position in the Northeast Olympic Games for the second consecutive time with 237 medals, including 85 gold, as the second edition of the regional multi-sport event concluded here on Wednesday. Manipur also won 76 silver and 77 bronze while Assam was a close second with 201 medals (81 gold, 60 silver and 60 bronze) in the event and competed among the eight states of the country's northeast region from November 10.

Arunachal Pradesh ended in third place while host state Meghalaya was fourth with 149 medals (36 gold, 35 silver, 78 bronze), a much better show than their sixth-place finish with 39 medals in the first edition.

Manipur had also topped the medal tally (80 gold, 49 silver and 33 bronze) when it hosted the inaugural Games in October 2018. Manipur, which has produced Olympic medal-winning athletes such as boxer MC Mary Kom and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, overtook Assam on Tuesday and consolidated its top position by winning 17 medals, including seven gold, on the final day.

The U-17 Manipuri women's football team, which has a few national team players in its ranks, beat Arunachal Pradesh 3-0 in the final on Wednesday. Around 3000 athletes competed in 18 disciplines at 12 venues spread across Shillong.

The first edition in Manipur had 12 disciplines. The Games are being organised by the government of Meghalaya and the state Olympic Association under the aegis of the Northeast Olympic Association (NEOA). The Meghalaya government fully funded the event.

Arunachal Pradesh was to host the second edition of the Games in 2019 but there was a change of plan following the COVID-19 pandemic and Shillong was named the host city. Nagaland will host the third edition of the Northeast Olympic Games.

Hosts Meghalaya emerged as team champion in athletics while Manipur took the honours in archery. Assam won the team championships in the shooting. Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said the Games had run smoothly despite the infrastructure limitations.

"There were infrastructure limitations but, by and large, the Games had run smoothly, without many problems. The number of participating athletes was double the number in the first edition. So we are happy. "Infrastructure development takes time. But in the next one or one and a half years, we are working towards having world-class facilities in the state. We are investing a lot of money for sports infrastructure development," Sangma, who is the Chief Patron of the Games, said.

Meghalaya Olympic Association working president John F Kharshiing said the Games were a celebration of sporting excellence of the eight states of northeast India while also promoting solidarity among them. "Sport is a part of daily life in northeast India and the Northeast Olympic Games are a celebration of that. Apart from promoting solidarity among the eight states, we are also giving a platform for the younger players to get ready for bigger events," he told PTI.

Many national and international level athletes from the region, however, did not take part in the Games. Some events also competed in U-17 and U-21 categories. Meghalaya has been awarded the hosting rights of the 39th National Games (though the year of the event is still not known) and Kharshiing said the Northeast Olympic Games were a "dry run" for the bigger event.

"We had hosted a few disciplines of the South Asian Games in 2016 (co-hosted with Guwahati) and we had the infrastructure. Now our main aim is the 39th National Games for which we have signed a tri-partite agreement with the IOA. "These Northeast Olympic Games are a dry run for the National Games," said Kharshiing who is also the secretary general of the Northeast Olympic Association.

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