Imphal, July 10: The allocation of Rs 100 crore for a sports university in Manipur in the budget presented by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley today has been hailed by the sports community and political parties as the “right step” to promote sports in the Northeast.
Setting up a sports university in Manipur, which is regarded as a “powerhouse” of sports, is a long-standing demand of the people of Manipur. “It is a welcome move. Such a university will not only benefit Manipur but the entire region. This will certainly encourage our youths and bring out more excellent sportspersons,” Olympic bronze medal-winning pugilist M.C. Mary Kom said. The sports community hailed the decision as finally giving recognition to the contributions made by Manipuri sportspersons to Indian sport.
“Contributing four players from a tiny state like Manipur to the Indian contingent in Olympic Games is not a mean achievement. Therefore though late, the Centre’s decision is welcome and a right decision to promote sports in the country,” Romen Singh, joint secretary of Manipur Olympic Association and technical official of Swimming Federation of India, said. He said Manipuri players have always dominated the Indian football scene.
“There have always been four to five players in Indian men’s national football teams in the past few years, while more than 50 per cent of the women’s football team is from Manipur. Eleven Manipuri girls are taking part in the football coaching camps for the next Asian Games.
“These days, sport does not mean only competing in the field or arena. It means sports administration, medicine, psychology, marketing and management, among others. Therefore such a university could also impart knowledge in these areas, which will immensely benefit the sports sector not in Manipur but also in the country,” Singh said.
Sports department officials said they did not know how the university would be run since the announcement was made today but they welcomed the Centre’s decision.
“We have been urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to set up a sports university in Manipur and now it is a reality. Manipur is a powerhouse of sports and bringing academic aspects into it will certainly benefit the state,” state BJP president Thounaojam Chaoba Singh said over phone from Delhi.