Image: DIPR, Manipur

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Saturday inaugurated the first Chief Minister’s Indigenous Martial Arts (Thang-Ta/Cheibi) Meet, 2020 in Imphal.

Deputy chief minister Y Joykumar, ministers Th Biswajit (Works and power), Karam Shyam (revenue), V Hangkhalian (agriculture), Leptpao Haokip (sports) Nemcha Kipgen (social welfare), titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba, MLAs and others also present during the opening day of the meet.

Around 1500 participants representing 43 different associations are vying for a total of 159 medals in the eight disciplines namely ‘Cheibi Yendamnaba,Ta-Khousaba, Leiteng Haiba,Thang Chungoi Yannaba,Thang-Ta Chainaba,Thang Chungoi Marol, Sajel Kanglon and Sarit Sarak’.

The five day meet which is is a brainchild of the chief minister, will continue till January 22.

Speaking on the occasion, chief minister Biren Singh said Thang-Ta played a vital role in protecting Manipur from invaders in its 2000 years of civilization.

However, it apparently had lost its essence in the past few decades, he opined.

As such, the State Government has been actively exploring means to revive the age-old art form, the chief minister said.

He further informed after a series of meetings and consultations, the Government decided to organize a martial arts championship as a calendar event every year.

He also said the Government’s intention is to encourage the youth and children to learn martial arts so that they stay away from drugs and intoxicants.

He expressed his desire to set up martial arts learning centres in every village of the State so that different martial art forms including those of hill areas can be popularized in every nook and corner of Manipur.

He also urged the organizers to put in more effort to two-fold increase this figure in the next year’s championship.

Stating that the present Government takes the task of popularizing martial arts is of prime importance, the chief minister also urged the public to join hands in this regard.

He further opined that there is need to forget personal ambitions to achieve a collective goal.

Deputy chief minister Joykumar, ministers Biswajit, Karam Shyam and titular king Sanajaoba also spoke on the occasion.

In his speech, sports minister Letpao Haokip said the present generation should leave no stone unturned in preserving the old indigenous games, which are the important components of Manipur’s culture.

He also added that the Government would consider to include different indigenous games of hill areas as well in the next year’s championship.

MLAs, government officials and Thang-Ta Gurus were also present at the function.

The five-day competition which will continue till January 22 wherein cash prizes and medals consisting of Rs 15,000, Rs. 10,000 and Rs 5000 would be given to gold, silver and bronze medal winners respectively.

The overall team champion, the overall team runner up and the overall team third place would receive cash prizes of Rs one lakh, Rs 70,000 and Rs. 50,000 with trophies respectively.

The best disciplined team, the overall boys team champion and the overall girls team champion will also be awarded Rs 20,000 each.

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