Villagers in Nonglang, West Khasi Hills, took part in an interesting sporting event that you are unlikely to see, certainly in urban areas – carrying heavy loads of sand.
A total of 80 youth, both men and women, took part in the 2km race on September 29. Women carried 25kg and men 50kg.
It was organised by the Pyrshang Group in an effort to experience how people of earlier days, with no means of transport, would have transported such loads. Sport is known to be important in keeping the youth away from drugs and other negative habits but the village only has one small football ground, necessitating the exploration of other, alternative, sporting events.
Pyrshang Group leader Sevenstar Syiemlieh said that, in the past, villagers would carry produce on their backs using traditional khoh and walk to sell them to faraway markets like Riangdo, Nongstoiñ, Mawkyrwat and others. The village got a black-topped road after the Langpih border dispute shooting incident.
Sand for the race was collected from the nearby Tyrsung River. The top four from each category were given cash prizes – Rs 2,000 for first place, Rs 1,000 for second, Rs 600 for third and Rs 400 for fourth.
The top women finishers were (from first to fourth) Ibanlamlynti Lyngdoh, Ibanpynshaiphyrnai Lyngdoh, Speciality Wanniang and Ilynti Lyngdoh.
In the men’s category the top four were Lutarson Wanniang, Damutsngur Lyngdoh, Nistar Thongni and Deiban Lyngdoh.