Chess Olympiad Torch Relay accorded grand reception in Arunachal capital

Itanagar, July 13 (FN Agency) Amid chants of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and playing of inspirational, anthemic number “Chak De India”, the first-ever Chess Olympiad Torch Relay reached Itanagar on Wednesday where Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu received the Torch from Grandmaster Mitrabha Guha in presence of Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Mama Natung and other dignitaries.The ‘historic’ Torch Relay was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi on June 19. As India is celebrating ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ marking the75th year of its Independence, the Chess Olympiad Torch is being taken to 75 iconic places across the country, including Itanagar and Namsai in Arunachal Pradesh, before reaching Mahabalipuram near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, which is hosting the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad from July 28 to August 10.

Grandmaster Mitrabha Guha of Kolkata who brought the Torch handed it over to the chief guest ofthe event, CM Khandu at the DK Convention Hall here in presence of the Sports Minister, dignitaries, and a large number of young participants, mostly from Sangay Lhaden Sports Academy, Chimpu, Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya and National Centre for Excellence.Speaking on the occasion, Khandu said that it is a matter of great pride that the maiden Chess Olympiad Torch came here in Arunachal Pradesh and for this, credit must go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and members of All India Chess Federation (AICF). He added, for the first time inits history, India is hosting the 44th Chess Olympiad. “You all know that the journey of the game of chess, traditionally known as Shatranj, originated from this great country and it’s a matter of delight that the Chess Olympiad Torch Relay has commenced from the 44th edition of Chess Olympiad that too from India, and the Torch will travel to other countries for the successive editions of the mega event,” he said.

Stating that country has produced many grandmasters (GMs) and more GMs will be produced in the days to come, Khandu said assured that the state government would definitely support the AICF and the Arunachal Pradesh Chess Association (APCA)’s initiative to promote the game of chess in the state in school level. Mentioning that India had recorded its highest-ever medals haul in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Khandu exuded confidence that, given the facilities provided in all sports disciplines, no doubt, the country will win more medals in the upcoming Olympic Games 2024.North Eastern states including Arunachal Pradesh also marched ahead in the sports arena. There are lots of sports potential in our youth but due to non-availability of proper platforms and proper facilities, their talents are getting wasted. But now, the state government with support from the Centre is according priority to the sports sector.

He said that during the last six years, Arunachal athletes have won 764 medals in different national and international events.APCA president N Konia, while giving a brief on development of chess in Arunachal Pradesh, informed that APCA is going to introduce chess in schools on a pilot basis, very soon, after completion of the 44th Chess Olympiad. “Initially, we are going to include two schools in each district. For this, all the ground works havebeen done, and AICF will provide the logistics,” he said. Earlier, the Chess Olympiad Torch was brought to the event venue in an open gypsy withArunachal’s pride South Asian Games gold medal winning weightlifter Sambu Lapungaccompanying the torch relay from Naharlagun. Later, the Torch Relay team left for its onward journey to Namsai via Assam’s Dibrugarh.