Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu on December 2 inaugurated the 11th edition of the Greater Kameng Badminton Championship at Seijosa town in the Pakke Kesang district. With the participation of nine clubs from the erstwhile undivided Kameng district, now bifurcated into East Kameng, Tawang, Pakke Kesang, and West Kameng, the championship aims to foster brotherhood and unity among the citizens.
Speaking at the inauguration, Chief Minister Khandu highlighted the significance of the championship, not just as a sporting event but as a catalyst for building camaraderie among the people of the region. "This is not only about sports, but it brings brotherhood and harmony among the citizens," he stated. Khandu emphasized that the event's rotational location across the four districts symbolizes unity and shared heritage.
Arunachal Pradesh has been making remarkable strides in the sporting arena, with state athletes securing an impressive tally of 912 medals at both national and international events over the past six years. CM Khandu attributes this success to the proactive sports policies implemented by both the central and state governments.
Mama Natung, the Minister of Sports for Arunachal Pradesh, commended the championship for sustaining the unity among the people of the Greater Kameng region. He expressed optimism that this unity would persist even as the region undergoes further bifurcation.
In his speech, CM Khandu shared plans for a state-of-the-art badminton academy with eight international standard courts. Donated land near the Sangey Lhaden Sports Academy in Chimpu, Itanagar, will house the academy, continuing the late Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu's legacy and promoting the sport at a national and international level.
Khandu proudly announced Arunachal Pradesh's remarkable ascent in the sports hierarchy, now ranking third in the North East after Manipur and Assam. The state government's commitment to sports is underscored by its support for athletes, including the official recognition and cash prize for Wushu players denied visas for the Asian Games.
Looking ahead, CM Khandu assured continued support for the Greater Kameng Badminton Championship, declaring a grant increase to Rs 30 lakh from the current Rs 20 lakh. The state government, in anticipation of the next Olympics, has also allocated substantial cash rewards for medal winners - Rs 5 crore for Gold, Rs 3 crore for Silver, and Rs 2 crore for Bronze.
In attendance at the inauguration, BJP President and MLA Seijosa, Biyuram Wahge, lauded the Greater Kameng Badminton Association for promoting the spirit of sportsmanship and fostering unity in the Greater Kameng belt. He emphasized the importance of such initiatives in steering the youth towards a positive and productive future.
Wahge expressed hope that these sporting endeavors would counteract negative influences, stating, "Through sports, we want to bring unity, communal harmony, cultural exchange, and brotherhood."
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