Srinagar: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Tuesday said that the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council had been making extraordinary efforts to create world-class infrastructure and support athletes and coaches to deliver performances on the national and the international stage.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that speaking at the inaugural function of the 28th National Masters Table Tennis Championships 2022 at Sher-e-Kashmir Indoor Sports Complex, Srinagar, he said that the J&K Sports Council was reaching out to every young talent.
The championship is being organised by the J&K Table Tennis Association in collaboration with the J&K Sports Council and Indian Veterans Table Tennis Committee under the aegis of the Table Tennis Federation of India.
More than 1000 players and officials from 28 states and eight union territories and different institutions are competing in the championship.
“Be it water sports, cricket, football, badminton, judo, wushu, rugby, tennis, hockey, gymnastics, table tennis, or lawn tennis, we have better coaching and infrastructure in all sporting disciplines,” the LG said.
He said that the Jammu and Kashmir administration had accorded top priority to sports and opportunities as well as resources that had been created to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of millions of talented youths.
The LG said that the government’s effort was to harness the power of youth so that they could unleash their full potential in the sporting arena.
Expressing gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ushering in a new sporting era across the country, he said that for the first time, sports and sportspersons were getting due resources, respect, and handholding.
“Earlier, despite having the second-largest population in the world, we were not able to create the sports icons that could inspire the new generation,” the LG said.
He said that the country’s performance in the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games was testimony to the positive change brought in by the Prime Minister.
“Today, our heroes are giving new energy, new inspiration to young India by their spellbinding performances in all major sporting events across the globe,” the LG said.
He said that a similar change was started in J&K after 2019 and, in the last three years, J&K had emerged as a bright spot in the field of sports on the national and international stage.
“Earlier, only 2 to 3 lakh players used to get the opportunity to play in a year. But now the situation has changed and last year, more than 17 lakh youth were provided an opportunity to play, whereas this year we have set a target to connect 35 lakh youth with sports,” the LG said. “A huge step has been taken to safeguard the future of the sportspersons through the Sports Policy launched in January this year. Earlier, there was no incentive for players to participate in sports tournaments but we have ensured that both cash awards and government jobs are given to the players. They are the new icons of youth.”
He said that this year, 13 national tournaments would be organised in J&K and 11,000 players from all over the country would showcase their talent in J&K with the support of all sports bodies.
“The J&K Sports Council has also launched ‘My Youth My Pride’ programme to reach out to the players at the grassroots level to develop a sports culture, and around five lakh sportspersons will get an opportunity to showcase their talent in various disciplines of sports with the help of 53 sports associations,” the LG said.
Highlighting the major improvements in the sports infrastructure across J&K, he said that world-class sports infrastructure had been developed in J&K under the guidance of the Prime Minister.
“FIFA-standard Bakshi Stadium and ICC-standard M A Stadium have been upgraded and renovated for international-level matches. Today, we have succeeded in creating a Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Hall in every district of J&K with all facilities as per the requirements of the players,” the LG said.
He appreciated the grit of veterans participating in the Masters' Tournament and expressed hope that their experience and energy would become an inspiration for the new generation.
The LG also presented shawls as a token of appreciation to the veterans on the occasion.
Chairperson J&K Waqf Board Darakhshan Andrabi lauded the LG-led J&K administration for bringing a new era of sports development and providing ample opportunities to the sportspersons in J&K.
Advisor to Lt Governor Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar highlighted the transformation taking place in the field of sports in J&K.
Secretary to the Government, Youth Services and Sports, Sarmad Hafeez, in his welcome address said that more than 1000 players and officials including 140 women and eight players aged 80 years and above from every nook and corner of the country were competing in around 30 different categories.
He said that over 500 Table Tennis tables were being provided to the schools to facilitate budding players.
Mayor SMC Junaid Azim Mattu, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, DIG CKR Srinagar Sujit Kumar, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Muhammad Aijaz, SSP Srinagar Rakesh Balwal, Director Youth Services, and Sports Subash Chander Chhibber, Secretary, J&K Sports Council Nuzhat Gul, Chairman of J&K Table Tennis Association and Organising Secretary of the championship Ajay Sharma were also present on the occasion.