Shillong, Dec 16: In a glittering ceremony, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma inaugurated the much-awaited Football Stadium at the P.A. Sangma Sports Complex in Tura, West Garo Hills District on Friday in the presence of Health Minister James Sangma.
The stadium invokes a great historical significance as it witnessed Tura Football League and Subroto Cup since its inception in the year 2006. The upgradation of this stadium has been a mammoth undertaking by the Government of Meghalaya. The Stadium is a technological marvel, being the country’s largest pre-engineered composite football stadium with a sizeable seating capacity of 9500.
“This is a tribute to one of Garo Hills’ tallest leaders (L) P A Sangma. While this is a great accomplishment for the Govt., this is a personal milestone for each of us & we paid our respects to the vision of this great leader of our State,” Cm Sangma said at the inauguration.
“We hope that the P A Sangma Sports Complex will add to our long-term vision to mould sportspersons that represent our State and our country in the year to come… We dedicate this milestone to our people, our youth and our children,” he added.
The inauguration saw revealing of bust and paying homage to Late P.A. Sangma. An exciting exhibition football match between the Meghalaya State Team and North East United Football Club set the tone rolling. A grand cultural event with local bands and freestyle artists performed much to the delight of the spectators. The event concluded with a spectacular drone show and glittering fireworks.
This is a tribute to one of Garo Hills’ tallest leaders (L) P A Sangma. While this is a great accomplishment for the Govt., this is a personal milestone for each of us & we paid our respects to the vision of this great leader of our State. pic.twitter.com/pAP493v1hg
— Conrad Sangma (@SangmaConrad) December 16, 2022
It may be mentioned here that the stadium is part of an equally magnificent Sports Complex built at a cost of Rs.127.7 Crore which is also nearing its completion. The Football Stadium, and the two Indoor stadiums are built over a combined area of over 17,000 sqms. The Indoor Stadiums with Gymnasium, Swimming Pool, Table Tennis Hall, Squash Hall and Badminton Hall will be ready for inauguration by December 2023.
The Department of Sports and Youth Affairs in its quest to strengthen the sports eco-system and engage the youth of Meghalaya, formulated the Sports Policy in 2019.
Extensive efforts have been made to make world-class sports facilities available to the youth and athletes of the region; with such efforts never been initiated earlier in the history of Meghalaya. 318 grassroot sporting infrastructures are being developed across the State along with large scale state-of-the-art Sports infrastructure across Meghalaya. Additional Large Infrastructures will also be ready in the next few months with JN Stadium (Polo Grounds Shillong) being upgraded, Wahiajer Stadium and Indoor Stadium in Jongksha entering their concluding stages.
The government has launched a talent identification program for athletes. The program aims to identify talented athletes at a young and impressionable age and then hone their skills through curated training programs. In the first phase of the program, 4,600 children in the age groups of 10-18 were tested on international standards for their athletic abilities. The initial findings are very encouraging and dozens of kids whose athletic abilities are at par and even better than international benchmarks have been identified. Raksan Sangma, a 17-year-old boy from South West Garo Hills clocked 2.84 seconds in the 20-meter sprint against the international benchmark of 2.99 seconds.
Cash Award Scheme for Sports Achievers have been launched with about Rs. 3.14 crores benefitting nearly 3000 Athletes.
Hosting Events is also a big objective to ensure that athletes gain exposure. This has been a primary focus of the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs.
Meghalaya also witnessed a very successful North-East Olympic games. A success never heard of in the State, athletes from around the NE States came up to say that the facilities were of international standard, technical staffs and coaches lauded the organizer and to add feather to the cap Meghalaya achieved record medal tally.