Shillong, Feb 2 (IANS) Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday said co-hosts Assam and Meghalaya for the 12th South Asian Games were ready to welcome athletes from all corners of South Asia.
“I am fully confident that the objective of the Games, that is to ‘Play for Peace, Progress and Prosperity’ will be fully realised,” Sonowal said at a curtain raiser for the South Asian Games held here in Meghalaya.
The programme saw the launch of the official Games song “Ei Prithibi Ek Krirangan” (The world is a playground) by the legendary Bhupen Hazarika, and a special cover and stamp by India Post, along with many musical performances.
“It is a happy coincidence that this South Asian Games is the first gender equal Games with equal number of disciplines and athletes, both men and women. This inclusive character and gender sensitive spirit are consistent with our ethos and that is respect for women in all spheres of life,” he said.
Sonowal noted the contributions made by Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma in preparing the state to co-host the Games.
He also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi “too is a massive supporter of the 12th South Asian Games as promoting the northeast has always been important to him”.
Mukul Sangma said: “People in this part of the country are some of the most passionate sports lovers. It is a rare privilege to be able to host the Games, and we hope that the athletes go back with memories that will make them our best ambassadors.”