Union Cabinet which met under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi in New Delhi today has congratulated Indian Teams and Athletes for their record breaking medal winning performance in the just concluded South Asian Games. Briefing news persons after the meeting the Union Telecom and IT Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad said, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi congratulated the players and athletes and observed that all SAARC Nations have participated in the Games which were conducted successfully by India.
Curtains came down yesterday evening on the 12th South Asian Games 2016, held in Guwahati and Shillong. The event has been widely hailed as the best South Asian Games, ever organised. The Games involved about 4500 participants including around 2600 athletes in 22 disciplines. All the eight countries participated in the 12-day sporting extravaganza.
12th South Asians Games saw a record medal haul by India. Out of total 789 medals won by Athletes, India won a record 308 medals, which is almost 40% of all the medals. 12 new records were created in Athletics, out of which 10 belonged to India. Out of the 28 records created in Swimming, 19 belonged to India. This exhibits that sustained efforts by Government of India to boost sporting excellence through expansion of sporting infrastructure and support programmes for various sports disciplines in the country is bearing results.
The successful conduct of the Games is to be seen in the context of record time in which it was executed. It was barely six months ago when the two cities Guwahati and Shillong were finalised as venues. Games of this scale generally take at least two years to execute if not more. Initially, there was scepticism about the capacity of Guwahati and Shillong to host the Games. Infrastructure required significant upgradation in short time. There were also apprehensions about the availability of suitable accommodation in Guwahati and Shillong. However, the Chairman of the Organising Committee and Minister of State(Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal was confident that the Games could be successfully held in Guwahati and Shillong. With the support and guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, he played a big role in bringing various Ministries/Departments of Government of India, public sector undertakings, Governments of Assam and Meghalaya and other key players together to deliver the best ever South Asian Games. Full support was received from Shri Tarun Gogoi, the honourable Chief Minister of Assam and Shri Mukul Sangma, the honourable Chief Minister of Meghalaya. The Government of India, the Government of Meghalaya and the Government of Assam worked in unique tandem together to bring the Games to the two cities and make it successful.
The Games also had an incredible Management Synergy between Ministry of Sports & Youth Affairs, Government of India , Organising Committee, State Governments of Assam and Meghalaya and various other authorities/stake-holders. The key members of the team were Shri Rajiv Yadav , Secretary , Department of Sports , CEO Guwahati Sri Injeti Srinivas, CEO Shillong Sri RK Sharma , Chief Secretary of Assam Sri V K Pipersenia and Chief Secretary of Meghalaya, Sri PBO Warjri. Together they pulled off an incredible multi sporting event in an extremely short span of time and challenging circumstances.
Besides upgradation of various venues which was taken up on war footing , two venues of Hockey Stadium and Squash Courts are almost a miracle story that needs special mention.
Successful conduct of these games has written a golden page in the history of North Eastern region. It has not only set a quality benchmark for conduct of future games, but has also given an astounding boost to the confidence of the North Eastern region to host much bigger international sporting events in future. The Games have also provided a huge boost to the sports infrastructure in Guwahati and Shillong for sportspersons in this region to hone their sporting skills. It is expected that the Games will help boost trade and tourism among the eight South Asian countries who participated in the meet.
In a first initiative of its kind for the South Asian Games, Government of India is considering a cash prize for the Indian Medal Winners . An award of Rs 3 lacs for Gold Medal Winners , Rs 2 lacs for Silver medal winners and Rs 1 lac for bronze medal winners is being considered by Government of India.
Further, in order to leave a lasting legacy, It has been decided that exiting shooting equipments which required expensive repair in Guwahati would be taken up as part of legacy plan by OC. Further, Tikhor Parks are being considered to be created at Guwahati University and North Eastern Hill University at Shillong.
The Games were widely viewed on internet and as well on TV . In a unique initiative, Government of India and Prasar Bharti decided to provide TV signals to channels of other participating countries free of cost. As far as web site is concerned, 2 Lakh hits per hour was quite common during the working hours (i.e. leaving aside the late night and early hours). OCASG also witnessed about 15 Lakh hits per hour during peak time.
Unprecedented security arrangements were made to ensure smooth conduct of the 12-day event without any hitch across the two cities of Guwahati and Shillong.
The next South Asian Games will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal.