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Youth, Sports & Culture  Vol. 3 Issue No. 21          March 1 -15,  2007

A new beginning

Expressing his satisfaction over the organising part of the Games, the Prime Minister complimented the people of the State.

North East News Agency

After 10 action-packed days finally the curtains came down on 33rd National Games in Guwahati. Thousands of people with a heavy heart bid goodbye to the sportspersons who gifted the region one of its proudest moments. The sporting extravaganza concluded with a gala function at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium at Sarusajai. Capacity crowd witnessed the closing ceremony. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. State Governor Lt Gen (Retd) Ajai Singh, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi were also present at the ceremony.

Visibly moved by the success of the games, the Prime Minister said that the scale and magnitude of this largest-ever National Games was impressive and it speaks for itself. Expressing his satisfaction over the successful completion of the Games he said that the time had come for all our sportspersons across the country to roll up their sleeves, tighten their belts and get prepared for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

He said the country is committed to taking the top place in the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and with the efforts and dedication of the sportspersons, in the Olympics. He also revealed that the country needed to develop a broad-based sports culture in which the children are encouraged by their parents and guardians to take up games and sports seriously. He further said that the sports infrastructure also had to be developed all over the country and sporting facilities had to be made available to the youngsters in the rural areas. He also appealed to the corporate sector to look beyond a few popular games like cricket and support new disciplines where domestic talent is blossoming.

Expressing his satisfaction over the organising part of the Games, the Prime Minister complimented the State Government and the Chief Minister for creating such an impressive infrastructure.

Dr. Manmohan Singh also handed over the prizes to the best team Services, best woman athlete Richa Mishra of Delhi and best male athlete Rehan Poncha of Karnataka..

Like the opening ceremony, a cultural programme was organized during the closing ceremony too. The guests were greeted by the cultural troupes with excellent performance of jhumur, bagrumba, bihu, etc. Military band played the National Anthem. Official song of Assam - O mur aapunar desh– was sang by a group of noted singers. A cultural procession of the

North-Eastern states was also held where japi dance of Asom, butterfly of Meghalaya, dhols of Manipur, bamboo dance of Mizoram, Naga spears of Nagaland, yak dance of Sikkim, Hozagiri dance of Tripura and paper mask of Arunachal were performed by artistes.

After completion of the cultural procession, the combined march-past began, which was led by the band of Assam Regimental Centre, Shillong. Although all the 33 participating contingents with over 10,000 members have participated in the march-mast, it was a well disciplined yet fun-filled affair and was regarded as one of the most exciting events of the closing ceremony. Athletes showed off their traditional cultural dances in front of the huge gathering. Finally, it was the Assam Police band which came out playing the tune of Kapau phoole nohoai to give the final touch to the march-past.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the dream of hosting the 33rd National Games was realised. He said that despite having problems of financial constraints, floods, insurgency, etc., the State had been able to host the mega event very successfully.

IOA president Suresh Kalmadi said that it had been a fantastic Games. The newly created infrastructure also will help in producing sportspersons of international repute from this region, he opined. Complimenting the State football team for its glorious title winning performance in the final, Kalmadi said that it was a befitting finale to the Games which will be an event to remember.

After extingushing the Olympic flame, the IOA flag was lowered and handed over to the representatives of the Jharkhand Olympic Association.

Jharkhand will host the next National Games in 2009.

Couple of Bollywood stars were also present during the closing function. An attractive cultural extravaganza featuring Bollywood star Urmila Matondkar, singer Usha Uthup, Zee Sa-re-ga-ma-pa ‘Voice of India’ Debojit Saha, besides State film personalities Zerifa Wahid, Barasharani Bishaya, Kapil Bora and Joy Kashyap. Around 2284 children from 18 city schools also participated in the function.

Rehan, Richa adjudged best athletes

Swimmer Rehan Poncha and Richa Mishra, leading individual medal winners in the 33rd edition of the National Games, were adjudged the best male and female athlete of the 33rd National Games.

Rehan Poncha of Karnataka, who topped the individual medal winners tally, bagged nine gold, three silver and three bronze medals. He also set four new Games records during the 10-day-long multi-discipline event.

Rehan said, “it is very rare that you get to see an event of such high calibre being organised in a State which has been in the news all for wrong reasons, but with this event I am sure people across the country would form a different picture of this beautiful land when they go back from here.” Incidentally Rehan was also adjudged the best male athlete in the Hyderabad edition of the Games. His dream is to win an Olympic Gold. His four meet records came in 400m and 200m individual events along with events like 100m and 50m backstroke.

Delhi’s Richa Mishra was the favourite of the crowd from day one. Richa created one games record in 200m backstroke. Richa got eight gold, three silver and one bronze medals. “I have worked hard for     all these moments and each of the medals won in the 33rd National Games is a special one. Though I missed out on a few golds, yet I am content with my performance,” the golden girl said.

President to honour  Khelchandra, Mangi  

North East News Agency

President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam will honour five eminent personalities as Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna (Fellow) which includes Pandit Ningthoukhongjam Khelchandra Singh, an eminent scholar of Manipuri art and culture.

He will also honour 33 artistes including Elangbam Joychandra Singh renowned theatre director and Khangembam Mangi Singh, noted Guru in Pena ­— traditional music of Manipur.

Pandit Khelchandra Singh has become the first Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellow, the highest honour of Sangeet Natak Akademi from North East India.

For his scholarship and contribution in the field of Indian art and culture, he was elected Fellow of the Akademi.

Born on 1st September 1920 at Uripok Ningthoukhongjam Leikai, Imphal, Khelchandra Singh is an authority on Manipur’s culture that has made significant contribution towards the preservation of Manipur’s performing arts.

Educated at Cotton College, Guwahati, he studied ancient Manipuri literature under traditional scholars of Manipur.

For his service to Manipur’s arts and culture, he was conferred the Padma Shri in 1980 and the Fellowship of the Manipur State Kala Akademi in 1987.

He was honoured with the Fellowship of National Sahitya Akademi in 1999.Elangbam Joychandra Singh is a renowned figure in Manipuri theatre who established touring Drama Company – Manipuri Artistes Touring Drama Party in Manipur and propagated Manipuri theatre in every nook and corner of the State of Manipur and in Assam where Manipuris are settled.

Born in 1927 at Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai in Imphal, he started as a singer in the traditional Natasankritana at the age of fourteen.

Joychandra has produced more than sixty plays, of which Punshi Pamel, Shageigi Mou, Khanguthakki Chekla and Kathokpa are the most acclaimed.

He received the Manipur State Kala Akademi Award in 1992, the Natya Bhushan award of the Manipur Sahitya Parishad in 1987, and the Fellowship of the Manipur Sate Kala Akademi in 2005.

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