A star-studded Assam contingent is all set to participate in the 36th national games in Gujarat from September 29 to October 12.
Assam team comprises the Olympic medallist boxer Lovlina Borgohain, Commonwealth gold medallist lawn bowls player Nayanmoni Saikia and national record holder sprinters – Amlan Borgohain and Hima Das among others.
The other prominent players in the team are boxers Shiva Thapa, Jamuna Boro and Ankushita Boro; shuttler Ashmita Chaliha; weightlifter poppy Hazarika, lawn bowls players Tania Choudhury and Bangita Hazarika; archer Promila Daimary; fencer Thoudam Kabita Devi; swimmers Shivangi Sarma and Bikram Changmai.
“We have a strong team and we are expecting at least 57 medals including 23 gold in the national games,” Assam Olympic Association (AOA) general secretary Lakhya Konwar said.
Assam will participate in archery, football (women), yogasana, roller skating, lawn tennis, golf, cycling (road and track), weightlifting, judo, fencing, wushu, boxing, triathlon, squash, athletics, badminton, beach handball, aquatics, basketball (women), rowing and shooting (rifle and pistol) – altogether 22 disciplines.
Konwar said that they are hopeful that Assam will also be allowed to participate in gymnastics.
“We are hopeful that we will get it at the last moment. If we make it, Upasha Talukdar will be our star player,” he added.
Team Assam will comprise more than 300 members including coaches and support staff.
The venues where Assam players are scheduled to play are – Ahmedabad, Gandhi Nagar, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Delhi.
Director of the directorate of sports and youth welfare of Assam Nibedan Das Patowary said that the state government will sponsor the Assam contingent and the players will be sent in flights instead of trains.
Star athlete Hima Das welcomed the government’s move to give utmost care to the players. “This is a great step taken by the government of Assam. This will really help the players and this is a great sign for a better future,” said Hima.
The first batch of Assam players will leave for Gujarat on September 26.
The AOA hasn’t yet decided who will be the flag bearer for the Assam contingent. Hima Das, however, suggested that someone who is younger and has a bright prospect should be given that responsibility in a bid to motivate the youngsters.