ITANAGAR, March 14 - Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has offered to host the 2026 National Games in the State.
An official proposal will be submitted to the Union Sports Ministry and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in this regard, the Chief Minister said at the inaugural ceremony of the third State Olympics Games at Sangey Lhaden Sports Academy (SLSA) here on Friday.
�I am a very practical man. I knew we would not be able to create the infrastructure needed to host the National Games by 2024. But by 2026, I assure our State will be fully ready to host it,� he said.
Khandu requested Rajiv Mehta, Secretary General of the Indian Olympic Association, who was also present on the occasion, to positively consider the proposal at his level in the association.
Mehta, on his part, assured to support the proposal when it comes up for consideration in the Indian Olympic Association.
The Chief Minister said, �The potential of our sportspersons has been proved in the recent Khelo India Games, wherein we emerged third amongst the North Eastern States and 23rd in the country. We will focus on improving the overall sports scenario of the State during this five-year term.
Khandu attributed the success to the vision of the Prime Minister in channelising the youth force in games and sports, especially through the Khelo India initiative.
�Allotting the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry to one of the most hardworking Central ministers Kiren Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, shows the commitment of the Prime Minister in developing the sector, particularly that of the North East,� he said.
�We, in the State Government, are committed to producing future Olympians by providing all required facilities, incentives and infrastructure,� he said.
Khandu said that stadiums at Ziro, Pasighat and Daporijo have been completed and others at Aalo, Yupia, Tezu and SLSA are in various stages of completion. He said the Government plans to have one quality outdoor stadium in every district of the State.
The IOA Secretary General expressed optimism that the North East, particularly Arunachal Pradesh, would excel in athletics and sports and bring laurels at the international level for India.
�I can foresee a bright future. When you have excelled despite lack of proper facilities and infrastructure, I can see no reasons for you not to excel at the international level when all facilities come up in the next few years,� he said while appreciating the Chief Minister�s commitment to develop sports infrastructure in the State. � PTI