Sarbananda Sonowal (file photo)

Assam Olympic Association (AOA) president and union minister Sarbananda Sonowal on March 15 conveyed his heartfelt wishes to the Assam contingent set to participate in the forthcoming Northeast Games. Expressing optimism, Sonowal voiced his hopes for Assam to clinch a record number of medals and emerge as champions during the competition.

The Assam team, comprising 370 members competing across 15 disciplines, is gearing up for the third edition of the North East Games scheduled to take place in Nagaland from March 18 to 23.

Sarbananda Sonowal commended the achievements of Assam’s athletes at the Goa National Games last year, where they secured a total of 56 medals. He emphasized the significance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives such as ‘Khelo India’ and the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in nurturing sports talent across the nation. Sonowal also highlighted the Central Government’s decision to offer job opportunities to medal-winning athletes under the Khelo India programme, alongside the proactive measures taken by the Government of Assam to support sportspersons through employment opportunities.

Notably, approximately 2,500 athletes from eight states will be vying for top honours in the third North East Games, organized by the Nagaland Olympic Association in collaboration with the Government of Nagaland. In the previous edition held in Meghalaya, Assam secured the second position with an impressive haul of 203 medals, including 79 gold, 61 silver, and 63 bronze.

In anticipation of a stellar performance this time around, Lakhya Konwar, secretary of the Assam Olympic Association, expressed confidence in Assam’s enhanced showing. Konwar attributed the state’s burgeoning success to the visionary leadership of chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, lauding his tireless efforts towards the holistic development of sports in Assam. Konwar highlighted various initiatives undertaken by the state government, including the establishment of stadiums across every block, air travel provisions for athletes, and employment opportunities for junior players, thereby cementing Assam’s position as a model state in sports development.

As the Northeast Games beckon, the Assam contingent stands poised to showcase their prowess and bring glory to the state, fueled by the unwavering support of both the central and state governments.

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