Igniting the sporting spirit
A city is often characterized by its receptiveness towards sporting activities. Through 2017, Guwahati has undergone a marvellous transformation thanks to the huge number of international sporting events that the city played host to. In fact, for a city as modest in its size and infrastructure as Guwahati is, it has been a remarkable host indeed. A look back at the year brings to the mind the sheer variety of international sporting disciplines that the city hosted right from cricket and football (being the two most popular disciplines in India today) to other international events in badminton and boxing.
It is a clear-cut change for the better and this change is palpable. A walk in the evening hours within the RG Baruah stadium complex allows the encouraging sight of teeming youngsters accompanied by eager parents hustling to their respective practicing venues. In fact, it quite appears that contact sports like tae-kwon-do, wushu and boxing are preferred disciplines. And further, slightly hidden away from immediate sight is a fairly large population that practices roller skating in the ground floor parking area of the Deshbhakta Tarun Ram Phookan Indoor Stadium.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had envisioned making Guwahati the sporting capital of India and this dream seems well on its way to realisation. But while the calendar was filled with sporting events right through the year, the good turn of it all was instilling the sporting temper and keenness among a whole generation of youngsters which otherwise seems to be fast converting into gizmo-geeky-zombies with very little physical activity. If at all this is a pointer to a healthier city in the future, so be it. Beyond this, the most heartening aspect perhaps is the parents’ realization that pursuing a sport and excelling in it might pave the way for a lucrative career in it. After all, a sport provides a number of avenues to be gainfully employed and not just as a player.
The CM’s sporty vision has borne fruits to a great extent this year and given Guwahati’s experience and responsiveness to each event, things can only get better from here. Without doubt, Guwahati, as the sporting capital of India, has truly arrived.