Srinagar: The government’s new initiatives and policies in the field of sports have helped sportspersons from Jammu and Kashmir to give their best performances and emerge as champions in national and international competitions.
According to a report, the abrogation of Article 370, a temporary provision in the Constitution, on August 5, 2019, has changed their destinies, opening new vistas for them.
Recently young players from J-K retained the Moscow Wushu Stars Championship title and helped their cause to get shortlisted among the probable for the Asian Games slated to be held in Hangzhou China, later this year.
According to the report, Surya Bhanu Partap Singh and Abhishek Jamwal secured gold medals in the 60 Kg and 56 Kg categories respectively while Jiya Manhas bagged gold in the below 39 Kg sub-junior category. Aman Singh and Priyanshu Singh secured silver and bronze medals in their respective categories.
On the other hand in one of the most interesting cricket matches in the ongoing IPL 2023, a 21-year-old cricketer from Kashmir, Abdul Samad, hit a six off the last ball to win the contest and keep the hopes of Sunrisers Hyderabad alive in the tournament., the report said.
In 2022, a Kashmiri skier, Arif Khan, carried India’s National Flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. The 31-year-old Arif was the lone Indian competitor at the games, having qualified in Slalom and Giant Slalom events.
A 22-year-old boy from Jammu and Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Umran Malik 2022 made a name for himself in the IPL with his fast pace that often crossed the 150kmph mark. He was included in Team India and since then he has become an integral part of the contingent.
According to the report, after 2019 the government has created an enabling environment for sportspersons in J-K. The Union Territory has witnessed unprecedented progress in the establishment of world-class sports infrastructure and the career progression of the players.
Till 2019, merely two to three lakh youth used to get opportunities for participation in sports events every year. However, during the past three years, the government has set a new record, with more than 30 lakh youth getting a chance to participate in sporting activities.
The J-K Budget for the year 2023-24 has a special mention to enhance sports facilities in the Himalayan region. It envisages upgrading sports infrastructure and facilities in the Union Territory.
Pertinently, during the past three years the Union Sports Ministry has invested Rs 506.13 crore in 77 infrastructure projects under the Khelo India Scheme in Jammu and Kashmir.
Twenty-four sports academies were accredited and 199 ‘Khelo India’ Centres (district level) and 11 Khelo India State Centres of Excellence were approved under the Khelo India Scheme in J-K and Ladakh.
The centre of excellence for the Winter Games is coming up at the world-famous ski resort of Gulmarg in North Kashmir.
After 2019, the government developed sports facilities and training centres across all 20 districts of the Himalayan region. Every district has been equipped with top-level indoor and outdoor stadiums, the report said.
Efforts put in by the helmsmen are helping the budding players to conquer the frontiers, which were inaccessible to them for 70-long years due to Article 370 being in vogue.
The Department of J-K Youth Services and Sports is mulling setting up a wall of honours for reputed athletes and sports icons from J-K in and around the prominent sports stadium in every district. The pictures of the best athletes and sportspersons will be displayed in major sports fields, including MA Stadium in Jammu and Bakhshi Stadium in Srinagar.
A proposal has been framed to provide government jobs to outstanding sports persons under SO-12. Apart from non-gazetted posts, 5 gazetted posts will also be reserved for sportspersons.
The report said that the department has also moved a proposal to keep seats reserved for players in different colleges and universities.
Sportspersons are being encouraged to set examples and become role models for youngsters. They are being provided incentives and other facilities so that they can concentrate on sports and become stars.
For the year 2023, the government has set a target to engage 70 lakh youth in different sports activities with the aim to keep them away from social evils like drugs, terrorism, etc.
After 2019 J-K has got a New Sports Policy. It has incorporated various annual awards like Award for Excellence in Sports for 10 sports persons, J&K Khel Protsahana Award for Sports Association, two veterans/ experienced sportspersons/ organisers or referees, Parshuram Award for 5 best coaches in different disciplines. (Agencies)