National Sports Day at Samman Bhawan

Gangtok, August 29 (IPR): Sikkim joined the rest of the nation in celebrating National Sports Day, today. Each year, 29th August is celebrated as ‘National Sports Day’ in honour and commemoration of the birth anniversary of Indian Hockey Legend Late Major Dhyan Chand.

A special function was organized at Samman Bhawan, Gangtok under the aegis of Sports and Youth Affairs Department to mark the important occasion. The event was graced by Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang as the Chief Guest. The programme had the presence of Hon’ble Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Department, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, Cabinet Ministers and other dignitaries. Ace Archer Arjuna Awardee and Padmashree Tarundeep Rai and National Boxing Coach Smt Sandhya Gurung were present as special invitees. The programme was organized with limited invitees in keeping with the Covid-19 guidelines. However, district officials, sports persons and members of various sporting organizations in the State joined the event virtually from different venues through video conferencing facilitated by NIC.

The highlight of the event was the felicitation of Shri Tarundeep Rai and Smt Sandhya Gurung in honour of their contribution in the field of sports. The ace archer is a three-time Olympian and has made the nation and state proud with numerous feats. Likewise, Smt Sandhya Gurung has had a long career in boxing, and is currently the personal coach of national boxer Ms. Lovlina Borgohain of Assam who won the bronze medal in the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics 2020. Shri Tarundeep Rai was accompanied in the programme by his spouse Smt Anjana Bhattarai, while the boxing coach was accompanied by her husband Shri Manoj Limboo.

The Hon’ble Chief Minister presented the Certificate of Appreciation and a cash award of Rs. five lakhs to Shri Tarundeep Rai. Likewise, he presented the Certificate of Appreciation and cash award of Rs. three lakhs to Smt Sandhya Gurung.

The audience were treated to short videos on Shri Tarundeep Rai and Smt Sandhya Gurung highlighting their journey in their respective sporting fields. A short video on ‘hockey wizard’ Late Major Dhyan Chand was also screened on the occasion to mark the significance of the day. The videos were prepared by the Sports and Youth Affairs Department in collaboration with Doordarshan Kendra, Gangtok.

Also on the occasion, cash incentives were presented to twenty-two (22) sportspersons from various sports disciplines.

Speaking on the occasion, Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang emphasized on the importance of sports in every individual’s life. He said that sports is a positive engagement and should be encouraged at every stage. Being a sports lover himself, he shared a few anecdotes from his past to encourage budding sportspersons to excel in their sporting field. He stressed the need to inculcate discipline, dedication and dutifulness to ensure a successful sporting career.

The Chief Minister highlighted some of the key initiatives of the Government to encourage sporting activities in the State. He shared that there has been a marked decline in the Covid-19 positivity rate in the State, which could be due to the vaccination coverage. He added that by the month of October, Sikkim would be the first fully vaccinated State. He expressed hope that sporting activities would soon resume throughout the State.

The Chief Minister made the important announcement that the State of Sikkim will have its own Archery Academy in near future. He said the name of the Academy would be ‘Tarundeep Rai Archery Academy Sikkim’, and the same would be reflected in the budget of the next financial year. He directed the Sports and Youth Affairs Department to immediately start the preliminary work in consultation with Shri Tarundeep Rai himself. The Chief Minister asserted that the Institute would give birth to many more Olympians in the future.

Earlier, Hon’ble Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, in his address, thanked the Hon’ble Chief Minister for his personal involvement to encourage sporting culture in the State. While paying tribute to the legendary hockey player Late Major Dhyan Chand, he maintained that the Government of Sikkim started celebrating ‘National Sports Day’ from the year 2020, as an occasion to honour the contribution of sportspersons and also to deliberate on the importance of sports in our lives.

The programme was also addressed by Shri Tarundeep Rai and Smt Sandhya Gurung. Both the sports persons briefly shared their personal journey and provided valuable advices to young and budding sportspersons. Shri Tarundeep Rai called for the need to strengthen sporting infrastructures in the State, and ensure that highest priority is given to young and upcoming sportspersons. Smt Sandhya Gurung stressed that every sportsperson should strive for the best by inculcating discipline, dedication, determination, and patience in their lives.

The programme had the special presence of Hon’ble Ministers Shri Arun Upreti and Shri Karma Loday Bhutia, Hon’ble Advisor Sports Department Shri Megnath Subba, Hon’ble Chairperson Khadi Board, Smt Chung Chung Bhutia, Political Secretary to HCM Shri Jacob Khaling, Secretary CMO Shri S.D. Dhakal, Secretary CMO Smt Tenzeen Kizom, Secretary Sports and Youth Affairs Department Shri Raju Basnet, Secretary Culture Shri D.B. Rawat, senior officers of Sports Department, and was joined through video conferencing by President Olympic Association of Sikkim, Shri Kuber Bhandari and members of various sports organizations.

Earlier, the welcome address was delivered by Secretary, Sports and Youth Affairs Department, Shri Raju Basnet, and the programme concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Special Secretary, Sports and Youth Affairs Smt. Suchitra Thapa.

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