Gangtok: On March 10 morning, students of Tashi Namgyal Academy (TNA) holding khadas and flowers along with the teachers and staff members were eagerly staring at the gate of the school ground. The excited, curious and smiling faces and dreamy eyes were waiting to have a glance of their hero, Indian football superstar, Padmashree Bhaichung Bhutia.
At around 9 am, the hero and pride of the State Bhaichung (Bhaila to his admirers) entered the ground accompanied by two other Indian football stars Sunil Chettri and Renedi Singh. Along with a reception band which startyed playing at his arrival, a huge yell of pleasure and applause broke out among the students. Bhaichung Bhutia is an ex-student of TNA. At the age of eleven, he joined TNA in the year 1987 along with four other boys under NSTC scheme. Thereafter, he displayed and developed his talent in playing football in the school ground with full of enthusiasm, hope and discipline, guided by sports teachers. He represented his school in various state level and national level football tournaments and was successful in bringing laurels to the school. Representing TNA, he played in Subroto Cup in the year 1989 where he was adjudged the best player of the tournament. He left the school at the age of sixteen in 1993 and joined East Bengal Football Club.
So far, he has received several prestigious awards including Arjuna Award in 1998 and Padmashree Award in 2008. It was informed by his teachers that Bhaichung Bhutia was also very good in other games like Badminton, Table Tennis and Swimming during in his school days and had also competed in different inter-school competitions in those games. Bhaichung was congratulated by all the students, teachers and staff members for his achievement. Mr. AC Rai, TNA Principal, felicitated him with a certificate of appreciation, school souvenir and admiration. Bhaichung inaugurated the pavilion of the school ground which is now named ‘Bhaichung Pavilion’.
Bhaila expressed his immense pleasure for the warm welcome by the school and shared his school time experiences with the gathering. He advised the students to keep on trying, learning and working hard to become successful in life and to become a better person. Recalling his good memories of school days, he told the students, “The school days are the most precious moments in our life that never comes for a second time; so make full utilization of your school life where we can have fun as well as wisdom”. The TNA students answered their hero with hugs and flowers.