Kohima: Naga wrestlers Keduovilie Zumu and Nlumrai Hegwang, who won bronze medals at the recently concluded 6th International Sports Festival ‘Pearl of Kyrgyzstan’ 2022 in Chon-sary-oi in Kyrgyzstan, were congratulated by Nagaland Wrestling Association (NWA) on Monday at the Nagaland Olympic Association (NOA) office in Kohima.
During the congratulation ceremony, Zumu recalled how the duo spent 6 days in Kyrgyzstan to participate in the tournament, as 33 countries took part in 30 different sports, with judo and belt wrestling being the main sports of the festival.
Keduovilie Zumu competed in the 80+ KG category and won the bronze after two wins and one loss, while Nlumrai Hegwang took the bronze in the 80 KG category after three wins and one loss.
Zumu won his first international medal in 2017 and became the first Naga wrestler to win a medal at the international level. With its recent wins, the state now holds a record four medals in international belt wrestling.
Director-General of Police (DGP) Nagaland T John Longkumer praised the meeting as a special guest and praised the NWA for building the foundation for the youth “brick by brick”.
He said wrestling, which is a sporting heritage for the Tenyimia community, is now becoming more inclusive with non-Tenyimia tribes taking up the sport. He pointed out that the grapple game can unite the Nagas and said it is a great start to promote the game.
Although the Nagaland sports battalion has been launched, he says it will take some time to formulate the functioning of the battalion for which a committee has been formed and the first draft report has been submitted. He expressed the hope that the draft will be approved by the state government before August 15.
Through the sports battalion, DGP Longkumer said there will be many opportunities for young athletes, both men and women, as Nagaland is the first state in the country to have a police sports battalion.
As the duo are both part of the DGP team, he commended them for making the Nagas and the division proud, and also commended the NWA for providing a roadmap for the players to participate in international sporting events.
He also encouraged the young wrestlers and players to be disciplined and maintain consistency.
NWA President Hiabe Zeliang also congratulated the Naga wrestlers on winning the bronze medals. He said that several tribes, such as the Lotha, Ao, Rengma and Phom, are now wrestling. He said the Nagas now realize the importance and scope of wrestling as a career.
While he hoped United World Wrestling would make the sport a successful addition to the Olympics, he said it would open up opportunities for Naga wrestlers to become Olympians.
He added that the promotion of sports is the way forward for society to make progress.
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