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Rongmon the rhino chosen mascot for Games

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UMANAND JAISWAL   |   Guwahati   |   Published 19.03.03, 12:00 AM

Guwahati, March 19: The one-horned rhino, the enduring symbol of anything that is unique to Assam, has been given a makeover for the biggest sporting event in the state’s history: the National Games in 2005. It even has a name, Rongmon, to go with the look.

The state’s sporting fraternity today unanimously adopted Rongmon as the mascot for the 2005 National Games, which Assam will be hosting for the first time. The decision was taken at a daylong workshop at the Sudmerson Hall of Cotton College.

Conceived by Assam Olympic Association (AOA) joint secretary Anup Choudhury and sketched by two college students, Raju and Rishi of Beltola, Rongmon is shown doing the Bihu dance in the traditional suriya-seleng sula ensemble, with the pepa (horn) tucked inside the gamocha and the Olympic torch in one hand. It basically symbolises joie de vivre and the spirit of the Olympic movement.

Choudhury had submitted several drawings to chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who inaugurated the workshop. The chief minister, in turn, sought a consensus. The gathering, including representatives of the AOA, state and district sports associations and other officials, finally approved the drawing that “beautifully” captured the essence of Assamese culture.

The name Rongmon, suggested by sports minister Robin Bordoloi, was readily accepted because it “gelled” with the character.

Talking exclusively to The Telegraph, Choudhury said he chose the rhino for three reasons: its calm exterior, strength and for being the symbol of Assam worldwide. “By dressing it up in Bihu attire, I have tried to showcase Assam’s culture. Rishi and Raju have beautifully depicted my thoughts. They had made over 50 presentations. I thank those who attended the workshop for approving the overall concept.”

The AOA official said there might be minor alterations. “A little bit of work remains to be done. The image has to be developed digitally for the right effect,” he added.

AOA secretary Mukut Medhi, Sports Authority of India official Subhas Basumatary and senior journalist Premodhar Sarma said the mascot was full of life. “It is in motion and has the right name. Choudhury has worked hard on the concept. It meets our requirements,” Medhi said.

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