India’s legendary footballer from Nagaland, Dr T Ao was remembered on his death anniversary on Monday.
Dr Talimeren Ao, popularly known as T Ao, led the Indian football team as the captain in the Summer Olympics in 1948, a year after India’s independence.
He was born at Changli in Naga Hills district (now Nagaland) on January 28, 1918 and died on September 13, 1998 at the age of 80.
Nagaland deputy chief minister Y Patton while remembering T Ao, tweeted: “Remembering the legendary footballer and exceptional human being Dr Talimeren Ao (T Ao) on his death anniversary.”
“His remarkable journey, life, and legacy are inseparable parts of Indian football that continue to inspire generations,” Patton added.
Remembering the legendary footballer and exceptional human being Dr Talimeren Ao (T Ao) on his death anniversary. His remarkable journey, life, and legacy are inseparable parts of Indian football that continue to inspire generations. @MyGovNagaland @mygovindia @IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/jtYpcHGjzN
— Yanthungo Patton (@YanthungoPatton) September 13, 2021
In the Summer Olympics in 1948, T Ao was also the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent.
Besides playing football, which was his passion, Ao also continued his medical studies at the Carmichael Medical College in Kolkata.
He was a part of the Mohun Bagan football team. He joined Mohun Bagan in 1943.
He captained the Maroon and Green in 1948 and 1949 taking over from Sarat Das.
Sarat Das was T Ao’s senior in Cotton College (now Cotton University) in Guwahati and both of them played for the Maharana Club of Guwahati.
But to fulfil his dying father’s wish of becoming a doctor to serve society, he completed his MBBS course in 1950.
After leaving Kolkata and Mohun Bagan squad, Ao joined the ENT department of the Assam Medical College at Dibrugarh.
In 1953, Dr Ao returned to Nagaland and joined the Kohima Civil Hospital as an Assistant Civil Surgeon where he later became the surgeon.
He retired as the Director of Health Services in Nagaland in 1978.
Mohun Bagan honoured him with the Mohun Bagan Ratna Award in 2002 and offered him a Life Membership.
in 2009 the first Dr. T Ao Football Trophy was launched by the then Union DoNER Minister BK Handque at the DDSC Stadium in Dimapur.
An outdoor stadium at Kaliabor in Assam’s Nagaon district and an indoor stadium at Cotton University have been named after Dr Ao.
Dr Ao passed away on September 13, 1998.
He was buried at the Naga Cemetary in Khermahal, Dimapur.
The Indian government released a poststamp in honour of Talimeren Ao in 2018.