Srinagar: The growing sports culture in J&K is reflected in the remarkable revolution happening across Jammu and Kashmir in different sports disciplines.
In the last three years, government has ensured unprecedented progress in the establishment of world class infrastructure, career progression as well as future of the players. The new policies and initiatives of government has established an enabling environment for sportspersons which was non-existent from last 70 years. Earlier, merely two to three lakh youth used to get opportunities for participation in sports every year, but J&K Government set a new record and 17.5 lakh youth were provided the opportunity to participate in sporting activities last year.
The Government has set itself a target of providing sports opportunities to 35 lakh youth. The FIFA standard renovated and upgraded Bakshi Stadium has been dedicated to the young players and play fields have been established in all Panchayats. Womens’ teams for Rugby, Football, Cricket, Volleyball, Kabaddi and Hockey have been formed in all 20 districts. To secure career progression of the talented and meritorious sports persons, a new sports policy has been notified and the process of their appointment to government services has been initiated for clearing the backlog from 2014-2021. 22 indoor multi-purpose halls have been set up in all 20 districts of the Union Territory and 40 state-of-the-art sports grounds have been constructed to host national level tournaments. 38 Khelo-India Centers have also been established in various sports disciplines. Presently, work on 948 Sports infrastructure projects is underway which are expected to be completed in this financial year. Sports gives a new identity to the youth and the Sports Council and J&K Government are ensuring that every player gets an opportunity to play with better infrastructure and earn the identity that of a champion.
My Youth My Pride’ in 22 disciplines in the Kashmir division and 18 in the Jammu division programme turned out to be a solid forum for sportspersons to showcase their talent. It has inculcated a winner’s instinct among youth and kindled hopes of an ascent in sporting performance in national and international games.
Notably, the J&K Sports Council has successfully completed many key infrastructure projects which are playing an essential role in training the youth in different sports. J&K has regained the confidence and created an equitable and inclusive sports and recreation culture with modern infrastructure and training which is comparable to the best in the country. With the help of veteran sportspersons, schools and coaches, the Sports Council is working to ensure young generation get to play a variety of sports and everyone has the opportunity to develop strong skill-set.
It is important to note that new sports policy is aimed at promoting sports in the UT by developing sports infrastructure and incentivising sportspersons to excel in their respective games. The policy incorporates various annual awards like award for excellence in sports for 10 sportsperson, J&K Khel Protsahana Award for sports association, and two veterans/ experienced sportspersons/organisers or referees, Parshuram Award for five best coaches in different disciplines.
The sports policy announces special cash awards to the winners in Olympics, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games among other tournaments in the range of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1 crore. Further, the winners in all recognised national competitions and National School Games in various sports disciplines will be granted specified scholarships. Special emphasis has also been laid to meet the sporting needs of the especially abled sportspersons through sufficient infrastructure and training facilities. Remarkably, J&K Government is making dedicated efforts to develop sports infrastructure and engage more youth in sports activities here, to realize the vision of making J&K- a power house of sporting talent.