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NE Games is not all about medal

By Ratnadeep Choudhury
Sports have been an integral part of the life of the people of Northeast. The region has not only produced some of country's best sports stars but sports have gone on to bloom the bond of communal harmony that the region proudly boosts of. The 23rd Northeast Games in Agartala once again proved that sports wins hearts in northeast.   

If you thought that the 23rd Northeast Games that recently concluded in Tripura's capital Agartala amid high voltage enthusiasm was only about winning medal you may be wrong. The 1100 odd participant from various corners of the region including Sikkim who turned up for the games did toil it hard for the top honours , some won medals while some were not so lucky but they were all able to prove  that sports can be one medium which can unite the entire Northeast.   

All of them might not have won medal but they won many hearts. "People are very frank and fine here. We are overjoyed to come here and play" says Karishma Pokhriyal, a swimmer from Sikkim.   

The Northeast Games has been called the greatest sporting extravaganza in the region and proved to be so. On one hand the participants did not give an inch to their opponents in the events yet they showcased the sense of brotherhood. More then a sporting competition   , it turned into a festival where every one got to know new people, their culture and way of life. It was a different experience all together.  "It's not only a competition. To me it appears as a festival where you get to meet new people and learn about them" says Alfin, Participant from Meghalaya.  

When the entire Northeast has been taken back by numerous serial bomb blasts, ethnic clashes, the Northeast Games has brought new lease of life. The games have weaved new nukes of friendship and brotherhood. "I won a medal but it did not make me that happy as I was when I got to meet old friends from other states. I had a friend from Tripura; we met during NE games in Aizwal. I helped him there and now when I came to Tripura he took care of me." says Zorampuia, a Table Tennis player from Mizoram .  

Although there was brawny competitions on the field, the off field friendship and goodwill among participants of different Northeastern states has been the trade mark of the games. They all came, played, won or lost, but above all - they proved that no terror attacks or ethnic unrest can curb down the zeal and enthusiasm of the people of the region for sports.    February 2009