Srinagar: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha on Monday launched the Golf Training Academy at the Kashmir Golf Club here for “promoting and strengthening the sports ecosystem in the Union Territory”.
Expressing joy on the occasion, the Lt Governor said the restoration work of the historic Golf Course after the 2014 floods has been done in the best way while maintaining its originality.
“It is a matter of great pride that Kashmir Golf Club, one of the oldest golf clubs with rich history, is the second only in the country after the Royal Golf Club, Kolkata. With best-in-class golf courses, J&K aspires to be the golfing capital of the country,” the Lt Governor said, adding that a similar golf academy with national-level training facilities will be launched in Jammu soon.
Addressing the young sportspersons of the first batch of the Golf Training Academy, the Lt Governor said that countless inspiring stories have originated from the Kashmir Golf Club and they will definitely experience them along with the nuances of the discipline during the coming 15 days of training. He informed that the eminent coaches of the country will come to impart training and the first batch itself is starting with the world renowned player and coach of the Indian team AmandeepJohl.
“We have made golf accessible to the common man of the society. It is no longer the game of the elite only. The dream of an inclusive society is being realised,” the Lt Governor said.
The Lt Governor enunciated that the talent of the sports can’t be limited. “It always comes out in one form or the other and just needs an opportunity. With proper resources and right training, we can produce golf champions like JeevMilkha Singh, Arjun Atwal, Shiv Shankar Chaurasia, Aditi Ashok, SmritiMehra, and Sharmila Nicollet in Jammu and Kashmir too,” he said.
The Lt Governor said golf is considered by people to be an elite game but the J&K administration is trying to make it available to the common people even to the children studying in government schools.
“Jammu and Kashmir is a powerhouse of sporting talent. The administration is working diligently in creating a flourishing sports culture and providing right platforms to budding sports talents and will provide all possible assistance and necessary infrastructure to develop the potential of young sports talents of the UT,” he said.
Recalling the directions passed during the review meeting of the Sports Department, the Lt Governor said it was decided that this year more than 17 lakh children will be provided with opportunities to play in different sports disciplines. “A multi-pronged strategy has been prepared which includes developing sports infrastructure, organising sports events in the nook and corner of the UT, arranging the best coaches, continuously monitoring and fully utilising the assets we have,” he said. “It was decided that at least 17 national level sports events would be held in J&K alone this year so that our youth get an opportunity to showcase their talent.”
On the occasion, the Lt Governor underscored that the sports infrastructure in J&K is “better and more modern” than many other regions of the country. “All the 4290 panchayats have been linked with at least 2 to 3 sports activities. Playfields have been made for them and alternative arrangements are being made where there is no panchayat land,” he observed. “During the time of corona restrictions, virtual training was arranged for 26,000 youth in various sports by the Sports Council.” The Lt Governor said that for the all-round development of youth, the government has given Rs 513 crore in the budget this year which is Rs 17 crore more than last year.
He informed that Suresh Raina’s academy for cricket coaching is honing the talent of youth in J&K and more than 2000 players took part in the cricket tournament organised in two districts while following the Covid protocol.
The Lt Governor said the Prime Minister NarendraModi had given Rs 200 crore to enhance and upgrade the sports infrastructure of J&K under PMDP. “As on date, 20 projects have been completed and 11 others will be completed soon,” he said.
The Lt Governor observed that a large scale work is being done to promote sports in Jammu and Kashmir and the UT administration is committed to lift the local talent to the national and international level.
Emphasising on the importance of sports activities, the Lt Governor said “the sports connect us, put new energy and new life in the people”.
The Lt Governor termed the Golf Training Academy as “a symbol of spirit of unity”. “Apart from the technical knowledge of that discipline, every sports discipline teaches us to always put the national interest first. Our youth have that talent and that energy which will be helpful in taking the country and Jammu and Kashmir forward on the path of progress,” he said.
The Lt Governor informed that last year more than 6 lakh youth participated in programmes like Back to Village, My Town My Pride, National Youth Festival, Fit India Movement, Trekking and National Integration Day. “It is our endeavour that this year also, following the Corona protocol, a maximum number of young boys and girls should participate in these programmes. For this, instructions have been given for vaccination of sports persons on the priority basis,” he said.
Commending the J&K Bank for the renovation works, the Lt Governor said “it is a joyous day that Kashmir Golf Club has been reconstructed after the terrible floods of 2014 and has been opened to the government school children and golf lovers”.
Meanwhile, the Lt Governor launched the Golf Training Handbook besides handing over the sports uniform kits to the players to mark the day. He also interacted with the players and took a round of the newly laid course. While speaking at the launching ceremony, Advisor to the Lt Governor, Baseer Ahmad Khan, termed the occasion as a “landmark day” for the sports sector in J&K.
Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, in his address, stressed upon full utilisation of sports infrastructure and resources in J&K for tapping the potential of the budding sports persons of the UT.
Administrative Secretary, Tourism Department, SarmadHafeez, highlighted the key features of the newly launched Golf Academy. He informed that 50 budding golfers (25 boys and girls each) from government run schools will be trained by the international and national level golfers. BakshiJavid, Director, SKICC, delivered the vote of thanks.
Rajeev RaiBhatnagar, Advisor to the Lt Governor; Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to Lt Governor; Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Alok Kumar, Principal Secretary, Youth Services & Sports; Vijay Kumar, IGP Kashmir; DrSaleem Ur Rehman, Director General, Youth Services and Sports, J&K; besides prominent and budding golfers and sports personalities attended the launching ceremony.