GUWAHATI, March 3 - In an endeavour to create a sporting environment and encourage the potentials and sportsman spirit of differently-abled athletes in the North East, the Northeast Regional Sports Meet for Persons with Disabilities kicked off at the Sarusajai Stadium here today.
Hosted by Shishu Sarothi, a non-governmental organisation working for persons with disabilities in the region since 1987, in collaboration with the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (NIEPMD), a national resource centre for empowerment of persons with multiple disabilities, this four-day sports meet will see 350 differently-abled athletes competing in various events.
The meet is supported by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.
The inaugural ceremony was attended by Dr M Angamuthu, Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (M) and MGVK Bhanu, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Assam. The other dignitaries who attended the function included Arman Ali, executive director, Shishu Sarothi; Dr Bala Baskar, project director for sports, NEIPMD and other officials.
According to Arman Ali this is the first initiative of its kind in the North East. �It is a unique platform on which children with disabilities will show their abilities in sports. Seven states from the North East are participating in the 4-day sporting extravaganza. Apart from 350 athletes with disability from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, another 100 escorts and volunteers and sports officials are taking part in the unique event,� said Ali.
Six sports disciplines of the tournament including running, relay race, wheelchair race, bocche, badminton and football for the age group of 13-20 years are scheduled at the stadium.
�The games will provide a huge boost to athletes with disabilities in the region to hone their sporting spirit. The aim of the event is not just to conduct a sporting event of a national class, but also to involve children with disabilities and acquaint them with different sporting events,� mentioned Ali, adding that sports for children with disabilities is not a new concept, but its full potential as a powerful means to foster greater inclusion and well-being for persons with disabilities is only beginning to be realised.