BHALUKPONG, 19 Sep: The Under-17 Boys’ and Girls’ State Level Subroto Mukerjee Cup football tournament was kicked off at the general ground here in West Kameng district by Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday.
The tournament is being participated in by 50 teams of boys and girls from across the state. It will conclude on 1 October.
In his inaugural address, Khandu commended the people of Bhalukpong, particularly local legislator Kumsi Sidisow and the district administration, for “taking up the challenge to host a state level tournament for the first time.”
“Tournaments of state level are mostly organised in the state capital, or in district headquarters with proper and adequate infrastructure. Hosting such a tournament with huge participation in Bhalukpong is indeed brave,” he said.
Khandu also lauded the theme of the tournament – ‘Say yes to life and no to drugs’ – and reiterated that every tournament should spread the message against drug menace.
“Our youths should be dissuaded from falling into the grip of substance abuse, and we can do that by encouraging them to participate in tournaments like this,” he said.
Giving assurance that the state government is committed to create and provide infrastructure and platforms for budding sportspersons of the state, Khandu said that the general grounds
in the district headquarters are being upgraded and equipped with proper facilities.
He said several stadiums have come up in recent years, and that, “while some are complete, a few are nearing completion.”
“India is fast emerging as a leading nation in the sports arena as we have witnessed from the performances of our athletes in the last Olympics and the recently held Commonwealth Games,” he said, and lauded the central government’s Khelo India programme, which aims to nurture and offer a platform to sportspersons of all age groups.
The chief minister, who is also the president of the Arunachal Pradesh Football Association (APFA), informed that the association has chalked out a roadmap to promote football and scout young talents in the coming years.
Acknowledging the fast-growing popularity of futsal among youngsters, he informed that “the APFA will organise a futsal championship in October, with an aim to constitute a state team to participate in national level tournaments.
“We will also be holding the state level football tournaments – the Indrajit Namchoom Arunachal League from January next year; the Dera Natung Trophy Championship in October-November this year in Tezu; and the oldest tournament of the state – Tadar Tang State Level Football Tournament – in December in Ziro,” he informed.
Admitting that the general ground here needs upgrading, the CM assured to sanction funds “for the construction of a cultural centre on it, with all facilities, including a spectators’ gallery.”
Among those present at the inaugural ceremony were Sports Minister Mama Natung, Education Minister Taba Tedir, and Education Commissioner Padmini Singla.
West Kameng defeated Namsai by 7-1 goals; Shi-Yomi beat Tawang 4-0; East Siang won the match against Lohit 4-1; West Siang beat Kamle 12-0; Dibang Valley defeated Kra Daadi 3-0; and Lower Siang beat Pakke-Kessang 6-0. (CM’s PR Cell)