The sporting infrastructure in Meghalaya got a huge boost after the state Chief Minister Conrad Sangma inaugurated the football stadium at the PA Sangma Sports Complex here in the state's Tura on December 16.
The much-awaited football stadium invokes a great historical significance as it witnessed Tura Football League and Subroto Cup since its inception in the year 2006 and 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. The beautiful stadium is a part of an equally magnificent Sports Complex built at a cost of Rs 127.7 crore which is also nearing its completion,'' an official statement said.
As per the statement, the football stadium, and the two indoor stadiums are built over a combined area of over 17,000 sqm.
''The Indoor Stadiums with Gymnasium, Swimming Pool, Table Tennis Hall, Squash Hall, and Badminton Hall will be ready for inauguration by December 2023,'' the statement added.
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 being initiated earlier in the history of Meghalaya.
''318 grassroots 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,'' it added.
The government has launched a talent identification program for athletes aiming 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,'' the statement added.
Besides this, the cash award scheme for sports achievers has been launched with about Rs 3.14 crores benefitting nearly 3000 athletes.
The inauguration saw the revealing of a bust and paying homage to Late PA Sangma and 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.
Eventually, the event concluded with a spectacular drone show and glittering fireworks.
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