Kohima: Nagaland will host the 56th cross country championship on January 15 next year, Abu Metha, associate vice president of the Indian Athletics Federation (AFI) informed on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference at Heritage in Kohima, Metha said the state was awarded the event following a bid at the AFI national executive meeting recently held in Rajasthan. .
“This will be the very first national event, as far as athletics is concerned, to be held here in Nagaland. We chose this candidacy because the Nagaland Athletic Association believes that there is a lot of potential for Naga athletes to do well in the middle distance, short distance, marathon and cross country events ”, a- he declared.
Metha informed that an elaborate plan has been developed to train athletes prior to the national championship. As per plan, cross-country events will be held in various districts by the end of October or the first week of November.
He said school and college students would also be encouraged to participate in the events in hopes of promoting cross-country sports.
Next, a state-level event would be staged by December, following which players would be selected to undergo intensive training for the national championships.
Metha informed that AFI would like to promote athletics in the Northeast region, aspiration. The cross country championship in Nagaland will help start this process. He said a strategy would encourage maximum participation from the region.
“The Indian Athletics Federation believes there is tremendous potential and talent in athletics in the North East. But due to scarce resources, lack of infrastructure and support system, athletes in track and field have not performed as well as their counterparts in the rest of the country, ”he said.
He informed that a team of technical officials will visit the state and the state technical team will also meet with AFI to formulate a game plan and finalize the rules. He encouraged all AFI affiliated associations and the best athletes in the country to participate positively in the championships.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio took Twitter, saying “Grateful to Indian Athletics Federation @afiindia for awarding the 56th 2022 National Cross Country Championships to Nagaland. This will be the very first national sporting event hosted by Nagaland. We look forward to doing so. welcome the athletics fraternity.