[ M Doley ]
Arunachal Olympic Association (AOA) president Taba Tedir urged the state’s contingent to return home from the 36th National Games with at least five gold medals from the five participating disciplines.
Arunachal Pradesh has so far won 18 medals – one gold, four silver and 13 bronze – in the National Games.
When the National Games was held in Kerala seven years ago, Arunachal had won the solitary gold in archery. The archery team comprised Genung Teksing, Sorang Yumi, Maselu Mihu and Netan Drema Khrimey.
Though getting close to the expectation will be tough, Tedir exuded confidence that the state’s team will do better this time.
The AOA president said that rigorous training and coaching are being provided to all the selected athletes in different places under the guidance of experienced trainers and coaches.
Tedir said that the state government is preparing a roadmap for the upcoming 2028 and 2032 Olympics.
Arunachal made its maiden appearance in the National Games in 1985 through wildcard.
Around 50 athletes participated in the Games in track and field events and badminton. The then State Sports Council member secretary, Anong Jonkey, was the chef-de-mission.
One of the participants in the Games, Tamat Gamoh, recalled how he and Ngurang Kaha ran on synthetic track with canvas shoes on due to lack of spiked running shoes in the Games in Delhi.
As per the record available, Arunachal won the first National Games medal in 1994 in taekwondo. The medal was won by Jashwanta Singh.
Arunachal Weightlifting Association president Abraham K Techi said that he expects the state’s team to win at least one gold medal in weightlifting. One of the medal prospects in weightlifting is the current national champion Sambo Lapung, he said.
Lapung was crowned the national champion after he lifted a total of 336 kgs (Snatch: 147 kgs + Clean & Jerk: 189 kgs) in the Senior national weightlifting championship, which was held in Odisha in March this year.
Other medal prospects are Charu Pesi and Jimjang Deru.
Arunachal has fielded six lifters for the Games.
Wushu coach M Premchandra Singh is also hopeful of winning at least two gold and an equal number of silver medals by his team in the Games.
Seven players have been selected for the wushu event and four of them are gold medal winners of the senior national championship, which was held last year, Singh said.
Boxing coach Dari Laknia said that two boxers have been selected for the National Games – Amir Tajo (57 kg) and Tacho Jomoh (75 kg). Both Tajo and Jomoh are the reigning state champions in their respective weight categories, Laknia said.
The state has also fielded one athlete each in judo and skateboarding. The lone participant in judo, Kamdon Boi, is the semifinalist of the senior national championship, said coach Madin Hina.
Skater Nani Sonam will compete in street skateboarding. Hailing from Sonam village in East Kameng district, Sonam is the first skater from Arunachal to represent the state at the National Games.
Sonam was the winner of the ‘Go Skateboarding Day’ event which was held in Guwahati, Assam, in June, and stood second in the ‘School Skate Fest’ which was held in Pune, Maharashtra, in May this year.
Arunachal will participate in weightlifting, judo, boxing, wushu and skateboarding in the Games, scheduled to begin on 29 September in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
The skateboarding event will be held on 30 September and 1 October, while weightlifting will be conducted from 30 September to 4 October.
The state team will leave for the Games batch-wise. The first batch, comprising the lifters and the skater, will be leaving on 28 September.
The opening ceremony of the Games will be held on 29 September, while the closing ceremony will be held on 12 October.