The necessity for a comprehensive Sports Policy in Nagaland has become increasingly evident as athletes from various disciplines continue to bring honor to the state. Moreover, the potential for sports to emerge as a significant revenue-generating sector, particularly among the youth and government, has been widely acknowledged.

With the Rio government allocating Rs 1,055 lakh to the Department of Youth Resources and Sports this financial year, and the Chief Minister announcing in November 2023 that a comprehensive overhaul of the existing Sports Policy would be tabled during the budget session, anticipation among youths, athletes, and sportspersons has reached new heights.

Whether the policy will be tabled in the ongoing budget session or not is uncertain, but the need to revamp the Sports Policy were also shared by both Deputy Chief Minister TR Zeliang and Advisor to Chief Minister of Nagaland and Investment & Development Authority of Nagaland (IDAN) chairman Abu Metha earlier this year on February and January respectively.

The anticipation also coincides with Nagaland’s hosting of the Northeast Olympic Games from 18 to 23 March this year, further underscoring the urgency for an updated Sports Policy. Indeed, reports suggest that the New Sports Policy is already in the making.

Sportspersons, in particular, are eagerly awaiting the outcomes of this policy overhaul, with expectations running high for tangible benefits and support from the government. One athlete expressed their anticipation with this newspaper stating, “We expect that there will be allocation of funds for sports development, athlete scholarships, travel grants, and incentives to encourage participation and excellence in sports.”

Another emphasized the need for concrete investments and government support, urging authorities to “walk the talk.” They added, “We are also anticipating provision of modern sports facilities, training centers, and equipment to nurture talent and provide opportunities for athletes to excel.”

Addressing concerns about political interference in sports administration, one sportsperson hoped for a fair and transparent process, saying, “No political involvement or giving preferences to former sports persons in setting up organization.”

Furthermore, the importance of Talent Identification and Development was highlighted by another athlete, who stressed, “We wish to see implementation of programs to identify and support promising athletes from a young age, offering them coaching, training, and educational support to reach their full potential.”

Additionally, ensuring access to qualified coaches, sports science support, and training programs to enhance the skills and performance of athletes in various sports disciplines were emphasized by several sports personalities.

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