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Nagas have produced two great Olympians in the history of Olympic journeys – Dr T Ao (Football) and Ms Chekrovolu Swuro (Archery)
By Oken Jeet Sandham
Dr T Ao (1918-1998)
Dr T Ao was not only the first Naga Olympian but also the first Captain of Independent India’s National Football Team in the historic 1948 London Olympic Games. In that historic Olympic Football Match, the Indian team under his captaincy beat France 2-1. Later, Dr T Ao met Queen Elizabeth II.
With Dr T Ao captaining the National Football Team in the 1948 London Olympic Games, football scaled new heights in Northeast India. Ao played for the country in five more international Games. Perhaps, the biggest disappointment in Ao’s career came in 1950, when the Indian team was barred from taking part in the World Cup, as they played barefooted; thus robbing Ao the chance of leading the country in football’s premier tournament.
Before taking the captaincy of the Indian Football Squad for the London Olympic Games in 1948, Dr T Ao already became captain of the famous Mohun Bagan, Calcutta (now Kolkata).
As a fitting tribute to this legendary footballer, an Indoor Stadium in Assam named after him. Much more than that, this “Legendary Naga Olympian” deserves an “Arjuna Award” posthumously.
Dr T Ao is from Changki Village of Mokokchung district and passed away in 1998.
Ms Chekrovolu Swuro (age 34)
It took 64 long years to produce another Naga Olympian. It is none other than Ms Chekrovolu Swuro. She represented India at the 2012 London Olympic Games. She played in both Women’s Individual and Team Archery at the 2012 London Olympic Games. She was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2013 (Archery).
Ms Chekrovolu Swuro’s rising in the field of Archery is outstanding. She hails from Dzulhami Village, Phek district, Nagaland.
Her past achievements in Archery are:
2001 12th Asian Archery Championship Hong Kong; Indv. Qtr Final
2002 2nd Asian Archery Championship, China; Indv. Qtr Final
2002 14th Asian Games, Bhusan, Korea; Indv. Qtr Final
2003 13th Asian Archery Championship, Myanmar; Team
2005 World Archery Championship Madrid, Spain; Team
2005 Asian Archery Championship New Delhi, India; Team Bronze
2006 Commonwealth Archery Champ. Jamshedpur, India; Team Gold
2006 Asian Games, Doha, Qatar; Participated
2007 15th Asian Archery Championship, China; Team Bronze
2007 World Cup Stage IV, Dover, Great Britain; Team Bronze
2007 World Archery Championship, Dover, Great Britain; Participated
2009 16th Asian Archery Championship, Bali, Indonesia, Team 4th Position
2011 World Cup Stage 2, Antalya, Turkey; Team Bronze
2011 World Archery Championship, Turin, Italy; Team Silver
2011 World cup Stage 3, Turin, Italy; Team Silver
2012 Summer Olympics in both women’s individual and team archery; Participated
CAN WE FORGET THESE TWO LEGENDARY NAGA OLYMPIANS – DR T AO AND CHEKROVOLU SWURO?
The State Government of Nagaland should initiate various sporting projects and schemes in their names in order to encourage young enthusiastic sportspersons in the State. At the same time, the State Government should initiate to have All India Dr. T Ao Memorial Football Tournaments/Cups. Such programs will not only encourage the sportspersons in the Northeast but the rest of the country will also give honor and respect to the Region.