India’s participation in the Olympics began in 1900 when the contingent comprised of just one athlete in the games that were held in Paris. With more than a 100 athletes qualifying for the quadrennial mega-event, India fielded it’s largest-ever contingent to 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and expectations were inevitably high. But Rio 2016 showed us a reflection, which said that there is still a long way to go before India can fetch medals in double digits at the Olympics.
North East India is a region which has tremendous potential in terms of the development of sports in our country. Since the Olympic Games in 1948, when India participated for the first time as an Independent country, athletes from the North-east have represented and won laurels for the country. Despite lagging behind in having the right infrastructure, the youth of North East are heavily inclined towards sporting activities like Football, Tennis, weight lifting, boxing, archery, gymnastics etc. There are a considerable number of players who have contributed every year from the states of North East.
While North-East India constitutes only about 3.1% of the total Indian population it has contributed 6.72% of the entire Indian Rio-bound contingent. But the economic disparity among the qualifying members is noticeable with most of the players having emerged from backward classes or poverty-ridden conditions to achieve this position of absolute glory.
Two years back, while addressing a rally in Manipur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his concern for the North-Eastern part of India, said “This region has been suffering due to lack of infrastructure. People have wrongly been made to feel that they are not part of mainstream. With lot of conviction and commitment to do something, we promise to bring this region at par with other regions of India.” Basing on this, there is a need of little more attention from the centre. People throughout the country must realize that the opportunities provided by these states need to be sketched out to garner the benefits.