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THE  5TH  NATIONAL  GAMES,  IMPHAL,  MANIPUR (14TH - 25TH FEB. 1999)

        "At the Closing of the Games, Championship Trophy  Was Handed over to 
        Manipur on the Basis of Points. They Topped the List with  484 Points, 
        Followed by Kerala Who Was Not Trailing by Much.  Kerala Had 481 Points 
        Although Kerala Topped the List with Highest Number of Gold Medals".



CONTENTS
 
A.Arrival of players
B.A Colorful Opening
C. THE GAMES
D. A CREDITABLE SHOW BY MANIPUR
E. DECCAN HERALD
F. POINTS TALLYAND MEDAL TALLY
G. MANIPUR GAMES PROVIDES AN EXHILARATING
H. A SPORTING SPECTACLE COMES TO POIGNANT END
I. CRITIQUES:
J. CONCLUSION 

A. THE ARRIVAL OF PLAYERS FROM OTHER STATES:

Manipuri Warmth Comes to Fore

DECCAN HERALD, Feb. 13, 1999
Vijay Michael Raj

The seven thousand-odd athletes and officials who will converge for the 
fifth National Games in the Manipur capital have a picturesque sight to 
look forward to. The Games Village is located at the foot of the Meitei 
Langhol hills, a range of over six hills which forms the backdrop to the 
800-odd staying quarters built for the purpose.

It does make a pretty picture with the majestic hillocks dotted with 
greenery, overlooking the makeshift residential houses.

And, today two days before the Games, which begin on Sunday (February 
14), the hills in their silent splendour, overlooked the buzz of 
activity down below. Security personnel, NCC cadets, Games officials and 
busloads of athletes all milled around on the main road which runs 
through the village. The accomodation centre, located at the entrance, 
was abuzz with athletes and officials making enquiries. The reception 
sub-committee housed in a large tent saw the four officials patiently 
and politely clearing enquiries. Even as the local Games officials and 
committees were at their best to ensure a hassle-free atmosphere to the 
visitors, the Manipur police were doing their bit to keep away expected 
trouble. The approach road to the Games village was also lined with 
armed gunmen for over 500 metres from the entrance to the village. All 
vehicles and visitors were checked before entry, as the ongoing 
militant`s trouble in the region have forced tight security measures.

Meanwhile, the contingents from different states were arriving in bits 
and pieces. Only Sikkim with their 35-member outfit have arrived in 
full, said an official in the reception sub-committee.

The first batch of the Karnataka contingent meanwhile, which left 
Bangalore on February 6, finally reached Manipur today. M D Jaisimha, a 
basketball umpire back home but here as a Karnataka Olympic Association 
(KOA) observer said about 200 members including athletes and officials 
from the state have so far reached Manipur. The group, which had a 
five-day long journey by train and road faced an eight- hour delay at 
Howrah due to the West Bengal strike.

While the journey was arduous, the reception accorded was however warm, 
both at Guwahati and Dimapur, from where the group travelled by bus to 
Imphal, said the KOA appointee. He also added that the cycling team had 
arrived in total alongwith members from the fencing, gymnastics and 
athletics teams.

Athletes and oficials kept pouring in even as dusk approached. But 
despite that, the warmth and generosity of the Manipur people in their 
efforts to make the Games a big success, shone long after darkness had 
set in.

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B. COLOURFUL OPENING TO NATIONAL GAMES

The Hindustan Times
Imphal, February 14, 1999 

The rich cultural heritage of ‘the land of jewels', Manipur, was in 
abundant display  as the fifth National Games was inaugurated bringing 
the biggest sporting event of  the northeastern region to fruition here 
today. 

President KR Narayanan declared the Games open at the Khuman Lampak main  
stadium in the heart of Imphal after exhorting the youth to vigorously 
pursue sport  which cut across all barriers and spread equality. The 
newly-built facility was  packed to more than its 20,000 capacity as the 
entire Imphal city turned out to  cheer the participants for the 12-day 
event running upto Feb 25. 

Manipur bodybuilder Maipak Singh, former ‘Mr India' who took part in the 
1971 ‘Mr  Universe' contest at Athens, lit the National Games flame 
after the torch was  relayed in the final stages by Nilkamal Singh, the 
first Olympian from the state, and  his fellow hockey internationals 
Tikken Singh and Thoiba Singh. Diminutive woman weightlifter, 
Nameirakpam Kunjarani Devi took oath on behalf of an assembly of  well 
over 7,000 participants in the Games who will compete in 27 medal 
events. 

First Lady Usha Narayanan, Union Minister of State for Sports Uma 
Bharti, Manipur Governor ON Shrivastava, Chief Minister W Nipamacha 
Singh, Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Mahanta and his Arunachal Pradesh 
counterpart Mukut  Mithi and Indian Olympic Association President Suresh 
Kalmadi were among the host of dignitaries present. In a function 
lasting over three-and-a-half hours which  symbolised national 
integration through sports and the effort to bring international 
standard infrastructure for the highly talented sportspersons from the 
northeastern   region, age-old Manipur music and art forms mingled with 
the formal part of the ceremony. 

The function began with the playing of ‘Manipur Sana Leimayon' (Manipur 
my  golden land) in traditional Khongjon Parva (folk) style and the 
entire stadium erupted in applause as the daring sky diving display by 
Indian Air Force followed. The President, on his arrival at the stadium 
soon after, was received to the music of Lam-een Pena (ancient stringed 
instrument of Manipur) and the blowing of  conches. The tricolour 
alongwith the flags of Indian and Manipur Olympic Associations went up 
before the ceremonial marchpast of the 32 teams, including  services, 
began. 

Members of the Manipur Police led the group bearing saffron, white and 
green flags denoting the national tricolour followed by the athletes, 
last year's hosts and overall  champions Karnataka leading the way. 
Hosts Manipur, who have entered the biggest squad in the games numbering 
over 700 participants, marched in last, smartly attired in maroon 
blazers and white trousers to receive the loudest cheers  among all 
contigents. Tingongleima Chanu, goalkeeper of the Bangkok Asian Games 
silver medal winning women's hockey team, was the flag bearer for the 
host  state. 

NG Dingko Singh, the Bangkok boxing hero from Manipur who claimed 
India's first  Asian Games gold in 16 years, was accorded the honour of 
carrying the Services  flag The Navy chief petty officer is 
participating for his employers. The march-past lasted over half an hour 
before ‘Sangai', the brow antlered deer which is the Games' mascot, came 
prancing into the stadium and hundreds of athletes surged forward  to 
take photographs. Sangai, a deer species found only in Manipur, is an 
endangered species and only a few hundred survive now. The mascot, a 
saffron-coloured balloon-type costume worn by an artist, surrounded by 
dancing  young girls dressed as ‘sangais', were welcomed by 100 
traditionally dressed Women. 

The theme was invoking ‘Sangai' as their son ‘Ningthem'. The President's 
speech  followed his declaring open the Games to the sounding of conch 
shells, release of  pigeons and balloons with sounding of guns in the 
background. The oath-taking ceremony was followed by a cultural 
programme, the highlight of which was the  earliest form of Manipuri 
dance, ‘Lai Haraoba Dance', the merrymaking to please  the guardian 
diety of a village performed over the ages. It was followed by 12 tribal 
dance forms from various districts of Manipur before the ceremony came 
to an end with a performance of the ‘Pung Cholom', playing of the 
Manipuri drum with acrobatic movements as a manifestation of beauty and 
mastery of agility and  athleticism among men. 

There were some reservationas earlier about the games taking off on time 
with the   region in the grip of militant activity but these were put to 
rest with the factions pledging not to disrupt the games. The Games will 
witness a keen contest in a  variety of disciplines and culminate on 
February 25. 

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C. THE GAMES:

"Whether the Manipur girls represent their own state or other states, 
makes no difference. They do extremely well in this sport 
(weightlifting)."

(a). THE HINDU
Date: 22-02-1999
By M.C. Raman 

The women lifters are showing much more enterprise than their male 
counterparts in the National Games weightlifting competition here. There 
are more records in the women's category than the men's and today Romi 
Devi of Delhi set a new National snatch and jerk records in the 75 kg 
category and equalled the total mark of 210 kg at the Manipur University 
campus. 

Whether the Manipur girls represent their own state or other states, 
makes no difference. They do extremely well in this sport. Today Romi 
Devi might not have excelled the way Neelam Shetty Lakshmi of Andhra did 
on Saturday. But she did make attempts to set new records and succeeded 
in snatch and jerk. In her second attempt she opted for 93 instead of 
92.5 kg, the standardised record in snatch, and cleared it. But failed 
to lift 95. And again in jerk, she crossed 115 in her second lift and 
then she tried 118, instead of 117.5 kg, which was the standardised mark 
and succeeded in the third attempt, cheered by a packed stadium. In the 
process, Romi also equalled the National mark with a total of 210 kg. 

(b). THE HIGHLIGHTS:

New Games Record in Women's 10 Km WalkMiss Y. Bala Devi of Manipur added 
another gold to her state's tally and wrote the record  book by clocking 
a time of 51 minutes 56 sec in 10 Km Walk for women.Nisha Millet set to 
be crowned the golden girl  of Khuman Lampak Swimming pool.

Gojen of Manipur and Sunita Rani of Punjab declared Best  Athletes. 
Gojen of Manipur, who earnred two golds in 5,000 m and 10,000 m   has 
been declared Best Man Athlete of the Games while Sunita Rani of  
Punjab, has been declared Best Women Athlete for her efforts at 10,000 
m, 1,500 m and 5,000 m.
                            
Sprint King and Queen crown for Anil Kumar and Jayalakhsmi  Anil Kumar 
of Services took gold by clocking 10.58 sec against the wind of  0.5 m/s 
and Jayalakshmi  V. of Tamil Nadu  clocked 11.98 sec with an aid of 0.7 
m/s wind speed in 100 m men and women finals at the Games.

(c). Centre fire shooting - Jaspal Rana (Delhi) made the National Games 
record of 591.0. 

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D. A CREDITABLE SHOW BY MANIPUR

DECCAN HERALD 
17 February 1999
                            
MANIPUR, one of the neglected North Eastern states, would have welcomed 
the responsibility of hosting the fifth National Games with open arms. 
It presented the State an opportunity to catch the eyes of the nation 
after being left to fight all its battles alone, with help coming only 
occasionally from other quarters. And, in their bid to do so, they have 
gone out of their way to ensure that the games are gone through 
successfully.

Given the constant threat from the insurgents, the poor economy and a 
first attempt at organising an event of this size, the state has thus 
far done a creditable job. As far as the infrastructure for the events 
and the games village go, the state has received kudos from athletes and 
officials alike. But a few slips still remain, media requirements being 
one of them, which can be attributed to inexperience.

For a state which had not been allotted even a senior national, which 
would certainly have given a first-hand experience of catering to the 
needs of the players and the media, Manipur has thus far put up a brave 
front.

But now that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has given the state 
recoginition, it should continue to do so in the future. If neglected as 
before, the efforts put in now as far as infrastructure is concerened 
would go to waste.

The main Khuman Lampak sports complex, which houses the athletics track, 
the hockey stadium, boxing arena, a wrestling hall, a swimming pool and 
the velodrome, provides venues for so many different games. With such 
impressive venues on hand, it would be a shame if these are allowed to 
waste away.

Thus, the various sports associations and the IOA should chalk out 
programmes to enable maximum exploitation of the
resources on hand. And, if capitalised upon profitably, Manipur can 
become a force to reckon with in Indian sports in the future.

TOP

E. DECCAN HERALD

Colourful End to Games
Vijay Michael Raj 
IMPHAL, Feb 25

The last dance of Sangai, the lovable mascot of the fifth National Games 
amidst the fading evening light brought the curtains down on the ten-day 
sporting event at the Khuman Lampak main stadium here today.

Even as he made his way out of the stadium followed by a group of 
dancers dressed like him, the chorus sang 'Kainarasi`
which meant farewell, in a poignant goodbye to the ten thousand and odd 
participants who had gathered in the capital of the North Eastern state 
to stake their claim in the nation`s topmost sporting event.

They will however gather again in the land of the five rivers, Punjab, 
in the year 2000 to once more prove their might in another edition.

This time around though, the might of the hosts was stamped on the Games 
as Manipur lifted the Raja Balendra Singh Cup awarded to the overall 
champions. Kerala, who led the medals tally, came in second. However, 
Kerala had the satisfaction of having one of their athletes, swimmer 
Sebastian Xavier, declared as the Best Sportsman of the meet. Sharing 
the award from among the women was Karnataka`s Nisha Millet for her 
14-gold effort in the swimming competitions.

Even as the athletes basked in the glory of their achievements, a proud 
Governor of Manipur, O N Srivastava, who was also the chief guest on the 
occassion, beamed amidst the heaps of accolades showered on the State 
for the impressive manner in which it conducted the country`s mega 
sporting spectacle.

Suresh Kalmadi, President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as 
well as the respresentative of the Prime Minister,
Union Minister for External Affairs Jaswant Singh waxed eloquent over 
Manipur`s showing. And, paying the ultimate tribute to the facilities 
available in the State, the IOA President also remarked that Manipur may 
be in line for assignments more important than the National Games 
itself, in the future.

But the accolades were not the only things that the 25,000-odd crowd who 
had gathered for the closing ceremony got to savour. The thrilling 
air-landings of the Air Devils from the Indian Air Force, the skillful 
formations of the Assam Rifles Band and the dances and drills were also 
on offer for the colourfully-decked spectators who dotted the galleries.

Then came the stars of the show, the athletes, smiles and waves coming 
from each of them as they did the customary jumbled march past. The joy 
and relief after the stiff grind over the past few days would have been 
evident even on the faces of the athletes of Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, 
Nagaland, Sikkim and Pondicherry who could not win any medal. Even as 
the spectators cheered the athletes on, two IAF dropped flower petals.

But the cheers and exuberance were to turn solemn a few moments later as 
the Games flag was lowered and the flame
extinguished. The stadium stood in revered silence as the IOA flag was 
handed over to Chief Minister W Nipamacha Singh  who in turn handed it 
over to the IOA President. It was then given to Punjab Sports Minister N 
Ikram Khan who took it on behalf of the hosts of the next National Games 
to be held at Ludhiana.

The silenced stadium was however once again brought alive as the 
cultural programmes began. The dancers and school children took 
centrestage in the last phase of the evening`s ceremony. As they made 
their exit after their delightful showpieces, the night sky came alight. 
Fireworks added brightness and colour to the dark Imphal sky. And, on 
that sparkling note, the city of Imphal chose to finish the fifth 
edition of the National Games.


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F. POINTS TALLY AND MEDAL TALLY [which includes the points of the 4th position]:

The following is the overall points tally at the end of the V National 
Games.
 
Manipur 486
Kerala  481
Punjab 425
Maharashtra 386
Delhi 365
Karnataka 362
Services 349
Bengal 305
Tamil Nadu  214
Uttar Pradesh 172
Bihar 140
Madhya Pradesh 131
Haryana 124
Andhra Pradesh 112
Chandigarh 90
 Andaman & Nicobar 76
Assam 39
Rajasthan 32
Orissa 30
Himachal Pradesh 17
Goa 11
Jammu & Kashmir 8
Meghalaya 7
Gujarat 5
Mizoram 5
Arunachal Pradesh 3


   MEDAL TALLY
 
STATE  GOLD SILVER BRONZE
Kerala 52 34 22
Manipur 49 24 39
Punjab 34 31 41
Delhi  31 29 39
 Karnataka  28 28 24
Services  29 27 25
Maharashtra 21 29 40
Uttar pradesh 16 17 13
Tamil Nadu 16 15 13
Bengal 12 27 40
Chandigarh 11 6 10
Bihar 10 14 12
Andhra Pradesh 9 6 11
Haryana 8 12 23
Madhya Pradesh 7 13 18
Orissa 2 4 3
Andaman & Nicobar 1 17 8
Himachal Pradesh 1 2 2
Rajasthan 1 1 7
goa 1 1 1
Gujarat 1 0 0
Assam 0 2 9
Meghalaya 0 2 1
Mizoram 0 1 1
 Jammu & Kashmir 0 0 3
TOTAL 340 342 409
                        
Note:  Two  silvers  were awarded in one  gymnastics  
event.  The bronze for the same event was not awarded. Two bronzes each  
were  awarded  in badminton, boxing, fencing, gymnastics (two  events), 
judo  and taekwondo. Five States - Arunachal  Pradesh,  Nagaland, 
Pondicherry,  Sikkim  and Tripura - failed to win  any medal in the 
12-day Games.



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G. MANIPUR GAMES PROVIDES AN EXHILARATING FARE

THE HINDUSTHAN TIMES, 26 Feb. 1999
Imphal, February 25  

Delhi marksman Jaspal Rana and Karnataka woman swimmer Nisha Millet 
stole  the thunder and hosts Manipur paraded their sporting versatility 
with pride as the fifth National Games wound to a close after ten days 
of drama, excitement, controversy and great sense of achievement. 

Bantamweight N.G.Dingko Singh emerged king of the boxing ring by 
obliging thousands of home fans in the most keenly awaited win of the 
Games,  notwithstanding a no show in the final when opponent Birju Sah 
of Bihar cried off, to  reiterate his status as the biggest star of the 
sporting extravaganza. 

Kerala regained top position at the medals rostrum since they achieved 
it in the 1987 Games as hosts after becoming the only state to cross the 
half-century mark  in gold count, but tiny Manipur improved on their 
previous best of 15-10-17 at  Karnataka in 1997 by mile and surged to 
finish a very close second, maintaining  the tradition of hosts doing 
very well in the Games. 

The event, twice put off last year due to non-completion of 
infrastructure, was  unwieldy at times due to the packing of too many 
disciplines and many last-minute schedule changes, also felt the absence 
of several top names. But the international  class infrastructure it 
threw up and the mass movement it generated in the highly  sports 
conscious state shone through as massive gains in a region grappling 
with  violence and drug problems. Twenty-three year-old Jaspal Rana 
improved upon the  existing world mark in shooting down the gold in his 
pet centrefire pistol to corner  glory for sheer quality at the range. 
Seventeen-year old Bangalore lass Nisha Millet emerged the darling of 
the Games as she scooped up an incredible 14 gold  medals, 10 of them 
individual triumphs, in an unparalleled feat to cast aside her own 
effort of nine at home in 1997. Kerala male swimmer Sebastian Xavier 
hauled in seven and Minimol Kuttappan underlined the strength of the 
south state in water  sports by annexing six from canoeing and kayaking. 
The 20-year-old woman distance runner Sunita rani made up for several of 
her senior counterparts skipping the track and field competition as the 
Bangkok Asian Games 5000m silver  medallist completed a grand golden 
treble from athletics. Her effort played no small  role in Punjab 
claiming the third spot overall in the medal count ahead of Delhi              
while Services, with an all male contingent barring shooting, came up 
with a superb performance to emerge overall fifth. Diluted competiton in 
athletics, which had to be content with 11 meet records and no national 
mark, and swimming where the cold water was blamed for not a single 
games mark being improved upon rendered the games low-key at times. 
Indian Olympic Association had to share much blame for many glitches 
that surfaced and forced many last minute schedule changes.

Violence and unsavoury incidents at the games village and in the 
taekwondo hall besides many disputes and protests took some sheen off 
the endeavour. The competition offered much drama as former world 
champion and local heroine N.Kunjarani Devi was upstaged by Manipur 
teammate Sanamacha Chanu for the  women's 48kg lifting gold and Rana was 
pushed to silver in air pistol and rapidfire. 

Kerala almost doubled their tally from their previous best of 29-21-19 
achieved in 1987 as they snapped up 16 out of 21 titles in canoeing and 
kayaking and eight more in rowing. But Manipur athletes stood out for 
the sheer number of events they won. Cyclists C.H.Jefferson Singh and 
his woman teammate C.H.Rameshwari Devi claimed a triple, distance runner 
Gojen Singh won 5000-10000 double, gymnast  T.Bhagat won two. 

National champions Manipur took the women's football title without ado 
while their  endurance showed in the altitude as they dominated 
triathlon and distance events  in athletics, besides showing 
quick-silver reflexes in the taekwondo hall. Bantamweight Dingko Singh, 
in his first competition after claiming India's first  boxing gold at 
the December Bangkok Asian Games, won as he pleased to highlight six of 
the 12 gold medals won by Services at the boxing ring. Young women 
archers Chekrovolu Swuro and Dola Banerjee led Bihar's crushing   
supremacy in the event while equestrian was Punjab's preserve as they 
won all the  six gold medals. 

Punjab also annexed the men's hockey and volleyball titles while 
Maharashtra showed their class in team events, winning the men's 
football and women's hockey. Andhra Pradesh came on top winning five of 
the six events at the badminton hall while Tamil Nadu paddlers claimed 
four out of seven table tennis titles decided. Karnataka claimed a 
double in kho-kho while their men alongwith Maharashtra women accounted 
for the kabaddi titles in two low-profile events.   Uttar Pradesh lad 
Vikas Pandey was the prince of the gymnastics hall, winning the  overall 
title and adding two more in the apparatus events while Haryana's Poonam 
Chabra with the overall win and West Bengal's Tumpa Debnath with twin 
triumphs  in apparatus section shared glory among women. There were many 
needless  controversies. Violent fans went on the rampage after a 
Karnataka girl continued hitting her Manipur rival who had sought time 
out for injury leading to a police lathicharge. 

Police fired a few shots in the air after violence rocked the village. 
Volunteers were  angered by an alleged act of misbehaviour by a Services 
athlete on a Manipur girl,  though Services officials strongly refuted 
the charge. 


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H. A SPORTING SPECTACLE COMES TO POIGNANT END

THE HINDU,  26-02-1999
By S. Sabanayakan 

The largest, biggest and the most difficult Fifth National Games, came 
to a  poignant end at the Khuman Lampak
Sports Complex's main stadium here on Thursday, leaving a tinge of 
sadness all around. 

As many as 6,233 participants, 1,033 more than the last edition at 
Bangalore, who rubbed shoulders in a record 27 disciplines, including 
three new additions this time,  sepak takraw, women's football and 
wrestling, gathered at the remotest part of the  country. Days of 
travelling to come and go made this the most difficult of all the Games. 
And at the end of 12 days of high voltage action in which one world 
record was  bettered, 50 National and 79 Games records were set, it was 
time for the 25 lakhs  population of this tiny North Eastern State to 
look back with great satisfaction. And  to top it all, Manipur won the 
overall championship and the accompanying, glittering Raja Bhalendra 
Singh Trophy with 486 points, five points mroe than  Kerala, after a lot 
of drama at the handball arena last evening and this morning. 

The theme of the games, unity, peace, cooperation and goodwill,'' should 
have been achieved in a State, torn by insurgency and insecurity. It was 
a wonderful  fortnight for the locals. The Games not only enabled them 
to project their State as one of the front-ranking sporting community in 
the country but also helped display  the hidden talent among the youth 
of the State.  It would have been the most proudest moment for the 
entire State when Mr.  Jaswant Singh, Minister for External Affairs and 
the representative of the Indian  Prime Minister, handed over the 
trophies to Mr. M. Kumar Singh, the president of  the Manipur Olympic 
Association and the States Minister of Higher Education. 

Mr. Singh complimented the Manipur contingent on winning the laurels and 
asked  the younger generation to make full use of the marvelous 
infrastructure to the  optimum.  he Chief Minister of Manipur, Mr. W. 
Nipamacha Singh, termed the success of  the State in these Games as one 
of the finest and the year as a `historic' one. 

Golden mermaid Nisha Millet of Karnataka was adjudged the best 
sportswoman of the Games after her exploits at the swimming pool where 
she secured 14 gold   medals and one silver medal, highest by any one 
sportsperson in this Games.
Sebastian Xavier of Keala was declared the best sportsman of the Games. 
He won seven golds and one silver medal, also at the swimming pool. 
Ludhiana to host next Games After the Indian Olympic Association 
president, Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, declared the Games closed and the IOA 
flag was handed over to Punjab whose Sports Minister, Mr. Nusrat Ali 
Khan, recieved it. Ludhiana will be the venue for the next  National 
Games in the year 2000. And the sacred flame was extinguished marking  
the end of the Games. 

The afternoon ceremony began with the enchanting music by the Assam 
Rifles'   band, a breathtaking sky diving display by the Air Devils of 
the Indian Air Force  and an impressive martial art show.  The 
commencement of the jumbled march past led by 55 decorative flag bearers  
from the Manipur Police in tricolours in a six-lane pattern was followed 
by flag bearers of participating States and placard bearers of all 
States. Then came the stars of the mega show to the background music by 
the Police band. The host  contingent trooped at the end. Dancing and 
cheering after stellar performances, the
home contingent was a fountain of joy. It was a sight that would be 
etched in  memory for long. 

After the competitors left the field, in came the mascot, Sangai, for 
the last time in  the Games. Swaying from side to side the brown 
antlered deer, one of the  endangered species of the State, bade fare 
well to a moving song. 

The cultural troops took the centrestage with an eye catching display 
and finally fire  works lit up the night sky to bring about a grand 
finale.  In the end, there was a sense of fulfilment at the conclusion 
of one of the sporting spectacles. And it was time to separate, time to 
depart after 12 days of glorious  achievement on the sporting arena in 
front of a simple, fun loving and wonderful people of Manipur.


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I. CRITIQUES: 

(a) Athletes Taken Ill in Manipur:

STAR NEWS HEADLINES 
NEWS UPDATE 
19 Feb 1999
                 
About 7000 athletes participating in the National Games in  Imphal were 
taken ill due to bad sanitary conditions, fatigue of long journey and 
change in food. Many of them are suffering from   dysentery and a few 
case of chicken-pox and viral fever. The  authorities are presently 
looking into the matter. 

(b).  Gastro Cases Plague Village: 

THE TIMES OF INDIA
Saturday 20 February 1999 

IMPHAL: Poor hygienic conditions continued to plague the Games village, 
amidst media reports of an outbreak of gastro-intestinal ailments among 
participants at the fifth National Games here. While a list displayed at 
the main medical centre of the village said  that till date 235 cases of 
gastro-enteritis had been reported, the  authorities seemed to have 
finally woken up to the problem to  avoid bad publicity. 

A doctor at the centre, who refused to be named, described the  media 
reports of a large number of cases as `exaggerated', and  claimed that 
the situation was `fully under control'.  But the affliction seemed to 
have already affected the performance of a number of participants.  
While a woman marathon runner, fatigued after an enteric   problem, 
collapsed midway into her event, a Bihar shooter Vaidyanath Singh had to 
be rushed to the centre this morming with diarrhoea and vomitting 
problems.  ``I don't know whether I will be able to participate in my 
event   tomorrow,'' Singh said. Singh was being administered saline.  A 
technical officer of boxing, V S Mani, complained that problems of 
overflowing toilets were yet to be addressed.  Maharashtra contingent 
secretary Mukund Dhus said, ``we are  counting days. We desperately want 
to go home.'' 

Asked whether the condition of the village had affected the  performance 
of the Maharashtra players, Dhus said, ``why only Maharashtra it has had 
a telling effect on the performance of all participants.'' 

He said while rooms were never cleaned, hot water was unavailable, which 
was creating problems for athletes. ``However, I must admit they (the 
organisers) are trying to  improve things,'' Dhus said. 

Shortage of drinking water was continuing despite repeated  complaints 
forcing the participants to shell out upto Rs 25 for a mineral water 
bottle. ``A water filter, installed by the organisers only three days 
back  outside my room has never functioned,'' the Maharashtra official 
said. 

A correspondent who visited the village found some women  participants 
carrying buckets of water to their rooms from outside for bathing.  
Meanwhile, stung by media reports on enteric diseases, the Manipur 
government tightened emergency facilities in hospitals to  cater to the 
needs of the participants, an official release said. 

State health minister Morung Makunga, in a statement, also  appealed to 
visitors not to take eatables and drinks from roadside  vends.  
Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau and Indian Olympic Association  officials 
were also seen at the Games village medical centre this  morning making 
enquiries about enteric problems. 


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J. CONCLUSION:

"The  Indian Olympic Association President,  Suresh Kalmadi,  has been 
so impressed by the participation of the Manipur Government and the 
local people in putting together the Games in Imphal that he will now 
look a firm  commitment from the governments of States aspiring to host 
the Games in the future."

The end of the 5th National Games in Imphal has brought forward many 
questions and attentions to the North Eastern region. How could this 
tiny state with so few people can host such a prestigious mega event and 
come out with flying colors winning the Championship Trophy and become 
1st in the Medal Tally although Kerala stood first in the Gold Medal.  
The answer is simple - the sporting spirit of men and women of this 
state. If India learns the Sports Culture and Spirit from Manipur, they 
do not have to look far to the day when Indian wins many Medals in 
International Events including World Olympics. 

Many newspaper and officials from certain states have complained about 
the long train and bus ride to reach Imphal and the exhaustion and poor 
performance of their athletes due to the higher elevation of Imphal from 
the sea level, the change in climate and food habit. [It may not be 
wrong to mention that many Indians do not know how to use properly the 
newly installed toilets and water purifiers in the games village]. Well 
if it were so, Kerala comes from the farthest and they should not have 
won any medal. Again, to remind our Indian news media and officials, if 
it is so far and difficult for the Indian athletes to come to Imphal - 
it is equally far and difficult for Manipur and NE players to go to 
other cities of India. They find changes in climate, food habit and, 
above all, the attitude of the general Indian population towards the NE 
people. 

In order to satisfy the different food habits of Indians, Reputed 
Caterers from outside Manipur were engaged to provide the North/South 
Indian and Continental food.

Now that the Imphal games are over and the next 6th National Games is 
allocated to Punjab. With the Infrastructure and enthusiasm, Manipur 
should work hard after a brief celebration and taking rest to prove that 
the Medals won by the Manipur Players in Imphal were not fluke but real 
by travelling far and long in another Indian city.  But for today 
whatever others say:

WE KNOW MANIPUR IS A SPORTING STATE AND IT WAS A 
WIN BY HARD WORK AND SINCERE EFFORT OF THE ATHLETIC MEN AND WOMEN OF 
THIS TOO FAR AND NEGLECTED STATE IN NORTH EAST INDIA. WE ARE SO PROUD OF 
ALL THE MANIPUR ATHLETES AND THOSE FROM OTHER STATES WHO CAME TO 
PARTICIPATE IN THE GAMES, AND ALSO THE TIRELESS AND HONEST VOLUNTEERS 
AND THE AUTHORITIES WHO PUT THIS MEGA SPORTING EVENT TOGETHER AT IMPHAL 
FOR THE WHOLE COUNTRY TO WATCH AND ENJOY THE SPLENDOUR OF MANIPUR. - NOW LET US CONCENTRATE ON THE FUTURE PROGRESS AND HARMONY OF THIS BEAUTIFUL LAND OF MULTI-CULTURE AND ETHNIC PEOPLE BY COMING FORWARD TOGETHER.  THE PEOPLE  HAVE SUFFERED TOO MUCH AND TOO LONG.



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