The improvement of sports infrastructure and the regular happening of sports events in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35(A) three years ago has made it an emerging hub of sports.
Be it cricket, martial arts, volleyball, athletics and other sports, regular competitions are being organised in the Union Territory under the ‘Khelo India’ programme. This has encouraged many players to qualify for national and international sports events.
Recently, Aqsa Gulzar clinched the Bronze Medal in the World Pencak Silat Championship 2022- Malaysia, whereas Zahid and Sajjad from the valley are selected for the Under 20 Indian National Football Team for the SAFF Championship 2023.
Chain Singh, an ace shooter from Doda brought laurels to Jammu and Kashmir after winning a silver medal at the shooting World Cup in Korea in the 50-meter rifle three position team. Judoka Akshay Sharma has also been selected for national coaching camp at New Delhi & for cadet and youth Asian championship Thailand 2022.
There are countless names in the sports arena from Jammu and Kashmir who are showcasing their talent. According to the Sports Council of Jammu and Kashmir, around 500 athletes won medals at various games at the national level.
This is the result of better training, world-class sports infrastructure and the growing culture of sports in the past few years. In 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a special package of Rs. 200 crores for Jammu and Kashmir to promote sports and to engage the youth of Jammu and Kashmir constructively.
The Lt. Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha during the inauguration of the first-ever accredited national rowing championship in UT said, “We have developed a strong sports culture in J&K. In the last two years, the Government has paid special attention to developing sports infrastructure & providing sports facilities to youngsters in rural areas. Our aim is to harness the talent, nurture it & provide the best training & exposure”.
The J&K Sports Council is playing a pivotal role in building sports infrastructure and nurturing the sporting talent in the Union Territory.
Junaid Azim Mattu, the mayor of Srinagar applauded the efforts of J&K Sports Council and said, “J&K Sports Council’s initiatives to develop state-of-the-art sports facilities are appreciable. Nurturing our immense potential in sports is an important goal that will help us encourage our youth towards excelling in not only their chosen sports but also become model citizens”.
The youth of Jammu and Kashmir have now realised that years-long conflict in the region remained an obstacle to pursuing their career in sports. They have wholeheartedly welcomed the decision to abrogate Article 370 and 35(A) and have joined the craze of sports.
They are now ready to enjoy the dividends of peace and excel in sports. (ANI)