Srinagar: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Thursday inaugurated the 6th Senior Asian Pencak Silat Championship being held in Srinagar.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that the event brought together over 150 athletes from different countries.
Addressing the gathering, the LG extended his greetings to the members of the sporting fraternity and jury members and welcomed all the guests to enjoy the hospitality and incredible sights of J&K during the tournament.
“Over the next five days we will celebrate and honour the individual strength and sporting excellence,” he said.
The LG said that the ongoing sporting events across J&K had kindled hopes and it was a sign of a robust sports culture in the society.
“In the last two years, we have formulated and implemented a strategic sports development plan which is paying us dividends,” he said.
The LG said that better infrastructure together with experts and outstanding coaches had brought a major shift in the training programmes.
“We have also implemented a new sports policy and offering attractive career options for the sportspersons,” he said. “Our sincere effort is to provide an environment of encouragement and adequate resources so that every talented sportsperson can give a spectacular performance at national and international events. We are committed to taking every possible step to develop strong winner's instinct among our sportspersons.”
The LG underscored that sports was all about unifying the spirit of universal harmony and brotherhood.
“This championship should not be viewed as an event that is only about winning. Participating with the spirit of sportsmanship is important. As one big united family, celebrate the success of others as much as you celebrate yours,” he said.
Noting that Pencak Silat was relatively new to India and introduced only in 2014, the LG said within a few years, J&K has witnessed an upswing in the performance of athletes in national and international events and earned 540 medals in the national events and 17 medals in the international events.
“Last year, more than 1.7 million children and youth participated in various sporting disciplines and this year, the number is expected to go beyond 3.5 million. The overwhelming participation indicates a resurgence of sports in J&K, he said.
Earlier, the LG interacted with the members of international teams of Pencak Silat from Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and Nepal.
Administrative Secretary of Youth Services and Sports, Sarmad Hafeez in his welcome address extended a warm welcome to the foreign sportspersons and delegates who arrived in J&K for the championship.
He said that several steps had been taken at the panchayat, block, district, and J&K level to promote sports, develop sports infrastructure, and extend the best facilities to the sportspersons.
Hafeez thanked the Indian Federation of Pencak Silat for their support in organising the championship.
President Indian Pencak Silat Federation Kishore Prakash Yewela, Secretary General International Pencak Silat Federation, Indonesia, Teddy Surat Madji, Secretary J&K Sports Council Nuzhat Gul, ADGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir P K Pole, DC Srinagar Muhammad Aijaz, and SSP Srinagar Rakesh Balwal were also present on the occasion.