Manipur did it once again. Leave Services, which is probably the most organised and well funded set up in this country and no other state could match the might of Manipur. 48 gold, 37 silver and 33 bronze; a total of 118 medals, till reports last came in. Manipur has proved once again that it is the sports powerhouse of the country.
The stellar performance of Manipur is not a flicker. In the 33rd National Games in Assam, Manipur held the top slot among states winning a total of 123 medals which included 51 gold. The competition has only increased after Assam National Games in which around 6800 athletes participated. In the ongoing Jharkhand National Games, which is the biggest ever National Game held, more than 8000 sportspersons are participating. And despite increased participation and hence competition, Manipur may well equal and even better its tall in the time left. In any case there is no doubt that Manipur has maintained its edge, .
In the 32nd National Games held in Hyderabad, it was Hyderabad that won the top slot winning 93 gold, 86 silver and 63 bronze. Punjab had won 54 gold and a total of 146 medals. Manipur was way below them. The script was different just after 5 years in the 33rd National Games in Assam in 2007. Andhra Pradesh which had won 93 gold medals as a host in 2002 won a total of just 95 medals in 2007 which included merely 17 gold medals. Punjab had 25 gold and a total of 104 medals to its credit in 33rd Assam National Games.
Many told that in the 33rd National Games held in Assam many players from these states didn’t participate due to militant threats and hence Manipur had a cakewalk. Manipur proved its critics wrong this time by winning a record number of medals. It beat Madhya Pradesh and then Maharashtra after trailing occasionally only to hop back to the top slot. At one time it looked determined to beat event the Services but for some phenomenal performance by Army Jawans. Andhra won just 5 gold medals and 49 medals overall while Punjab won 113 medals which includes 22 gold.
There is a lesson for policy makers and commentators sitting across in Delhi who have never paid the land of Manorama Devi and Irom Sharmila its due. Thanks to the mothers of Manipur who showed to the rest of India that Manipur can do sports better than anybody. Interestingly, in the incredible show of Manipur it is the womenfolk who have emerged on the scene, something we have been writing in these columns for last two weeks.
The number of medals won by Manipuri women bear testimony to this fact. Of the 112 sportsperson in both the group and individual events who won gold medals for Manipur, 75 are women players and only 37 are men. And of the 80 Manipuri sportspersons who won silver medals, 65 are women. Not even bronze was left for men. Of the 55 bronze medal Manipuris won, 31 were won by the female players. That amounts to a total of 171 medals out of 247 medals that was won by Manipur.
India’s mothers have a lesson to learn from the performance of the womenfolk of Manipur. For the sports critics and the rest, wait for the 35th National Games just after a year in Kerala in 2012. On the part of other northeastern states including Sikkim, it’s time to rethink their sports strategy.
Tripura’s all gold show: Courtesy-Dipa Karmakar
Manipur and Assam in charge of National games
Manipur tops medals tally in 34th National Games
Sikkim 3rd among NE states in Jharkhand national games