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Talimeren AO: India’s first football captain !

Born in the Naga Hills of undivided #Assam, Talimeren Ao was inclined towards sports and athletics right from his childhood. His first encounter with a sport was when he, as a little boy, would play football with a handmade ball made of tightly tied rugs with other kids, in a field near his house. Who would have thought then that this little child would go on to become a #football star for #India, and captain the first ever Indian football team to play in the #Olympics. He also had the honor of being the official flag bearer of the Indian contingent in the 1948 London Olympics.

Apart from being the captain of the Indian football team, T Ao, as he was popularly called, played for clubs like Mohun Bagan and Maharana Club, Assam’s largest football club. Ao also played for Cotton College, Guwahati, as a striker, during his period of study there. But later on, in club football, he played in the position of the defender and went on to become a fierce defender. 

However, T Ao’s father, the Rev. Subongwati Nindandgri desired to see his son become a doctor and look after his people. T Ao, besides being a talented sportsperson, was also a bright student. And paying respect to the wishes of his father, he studied medicine and became a doctor. In his later life Dr. Ao served in the Nagaland Civil Hospital as a civil surgeon and retired as the Director of Nagaland Health Services. 

This doctor-footballer has brought many laurels to this part of India. As a tribute to his achievements many stadiums in North-East India have been named after him. He is revered all over India, especially in West Bengal, where he spent the most time after the North-East. Following a period of illness, he finally succumbed to death on the 13th of September, 1998 and was buried in the Naga Cemetery in Dimapur, as per his wish. The child prodigy is still remembered fondly throughout the North-East for his accomplishments in the field of football and for his service to the society.


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