Srinagar: The refurbished International quality historic Bakshi Stadium is a dream come true for Kashmiri athletes and is quickly becoming a go-to destination for them.
Since Lieutenant Governor J&K, Manoj Sinha, opened the stadium on August 5 for Kashmiri athletes following a huge refurbishment, the stadium has drawn a big number of youth and professional teams for daily training.
The stadium has its own history and is one of J&K’s major stadiums, having held many high-profile events since it was first inaugurated on September 17, 1960, by then-J&K Prime Minister Bakshi Ghulam Muhammed.
The stadium has undergone several upgrades and renovations over the years, the most recent being in 2008 when J&K hosted the Santosh Trophy football competition.
However, the stadium’s upgrade and enormous refurbishment, which began in 2016 on the orders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was unprecedented and has transformed the stadium into one of the biggest stadiums in the country, fit to hold FIFA-approved events.
The refurbished stadium was launched in front of sportspeople on August 5 by Lieutenant Governor J&K, Manoj Sinha, after experiencing substantial alteration and enhancement.
Everything about the stadium has changed, from the turf to the seating capacity to the view. The stadium upgrade cost roughly Rs 59 crore and was completed by National Projects Construction Corporation.
Though primarily a football stadium of the International level, an athletic grass track around the football field has also been created. The stadium’s capacity for spectators has also expanded, and it can now hold up to 35000 people. The teams’ dressing rooms have been updated with new facilities required for any high-profile team.
The historic structures have also been upgraded. New seats have been installed in the central pavilion and the side pavilion. The central pavilion’s roof has also been renovated.
The stadium’s most appealing feature is its four floodlights. Each floodlight contains 56 lights, enough to light up any top-tier football match at night.
After more than a decade, regular physical training sessions have begun in the stadium, and hundreds of martial artists are flocking to the facility to make use of its amenities.
“It’s like a dream. From the moment you walk in to the moment you leave, the stadium exudes an international vibe “stated a football player
Another athlete stated that he is returning to the stadium after more than eight years away.
“We used to train in the stadium for athletics, but the conditions deteriorated and we stopped coming. However, when it was just inaugurated, I decided to pay it a visit. My mind was blown away upon arriving because I never imagined it would be refurbished on such a grand scale “stated Tahir.
J&K Sports Council is the custodian of the Bakshi Stadium and almost all the sports facilities that are in J&K.
“It is a major milestone in the history of J&K sports. Bakshi Stadium has been upgraded to make it fit to host any top-level football matches. The facilities are the best and it is an asset now for the sportspersons. We in Sports Council feel proud to be part of this development that was never seen before. Every member of Sports Council with Secretary Nuzhat Gull leading from the front has worked hard to achieve this dream,” said Joint Secretary J&K Sports Council Bashir Ahmad.
“Now it is time to take full benefits of this facility. We are getting daily requests from football teams to train in the stadium and we have been allowing them. In coming time stadium is going to host some of the high profile matches of National level,” he said.