ITANAGAR, June 7: Chief Minister Pema Khandu emphasizes the abundance of sporting talent in Arunachal Pradesh and the need for proper training and platforms to showcase their skills. Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 6th Hangpan Dada Memorial Trophy Under-16 Football and Volleyball event, Khandu highlighted the government’s efforts in promoting sports through state-of-the-art infrastructure and a comprehensive Sports Policy.
Khandu praised the achievements of young athletes, including Omang Dodum, who secured a spot in India’s final squad for the AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023, and Gyamar Nikum, signed by Mumbai City Football Club for the Indian Super League. He also commended the state karate and Wushu teams for their outstanding performances in national and international championships.
To identify football talent at an early age, the state Cabinet approved the Under-14 Indrajit Namchoom Annual Football League as a calendar event. Additionally, the government will launch the ‘Football for School’ program, targeting 200 schools to nurture talents between the ages of 6 and 13.
Looking ahead to the Olympic Games, Khandu directed the sports department to identify and train promising athletes from Arunachal Pradesh. In a significant announcement, he increased the prize money for Olympic medalists from the state. Gold medalists will now receive Rs 5 crore, silver medalists Rs 3 crore, and bronze medalists Rs 2 crore. The incentive for participation in the Olympics was also raised to Rs 60 lakhs.
Job reservations of 10% in the Police department and 5% in other state government departments were allocated for meritorious sports persons. Khandu praised the Sangey Lhaden Sports Academy for its role in training young athletes and announced plans to establish a similar academy in Changlang to support talents from eastern Arunachal.
Remembering the late Hangpan Dada, the former Chief Minister after whom the trophy was renamed, Khandu paid tribute to his sacrifice for the country. He encouraged youngsters to embrace the virtue of sacrificing comfort to achieve greatness in life.