Select teams not for mere participation, but winning medals

Rajesh Dhar
JAMMU, Jan 3: Notwithst-anding the commitment and promise made by the State Government that the medal winning sports disciplines will be receiving a special attention and the office bearers of the Associations of other sports disciplines will be made answerable for their poor show at the higher levels, most of the teams representing the State at the National scene, as per custom, take part in various games just for the sake of participation.
According to the reliable sources, the State of Jammu and Kashmir sponsors around 80 teams every year to participate in various National Level events, including National School Games. “The sponsoring agencies are the elitist Sports Organizations of the State namely the Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council and the Department of Youth Services and Sports. However, only a few games fetch medals and the rest participate for the sake of participation, bringing bad name to the State,” sources added.
It has been absorbed that the main reason of the dismal show by the State teams at the higher levels is either the improper rather jaundiced selection process or unhealthy organization of Coaching Camps.
Sources close to these elite Sports Organizations disclosed that the coaching camps prior to participation of State teams in the National Level events are hardly held in a healthy manner, adding that neither the players are provided with standard equipment and allied facilities not with proper refreshment.
“Government had enhanced the Daily Allowances of the players during coaching camps and competitions with an aim to give fillip to sports and games and promote sportspersons in the State. However, it has been observed that the enhancement of DA is yet to be given a practical shape, leaving budding sportspersons in the lurch. Moreover, the camps are not always held under experts, rather ‘blue-eyed’ fit the bill and lead from the front in this race, resulting in adverse training of the players,”  sources added.
Expressing anonymity, Sports Authority of India (SAI) coach said, “It is never practically possible to perform better without proper facilities, adding that the in-charges of the coaching camps are more concerned to fill up the food bills and please their bosses, rather than helping the players to improve their skill and hone their talent”.
While expressing anguish over the pitiable way of holding selection trials and coaching camps in Jammu and Kashmir, one of the prominent International players of the State said, “The teams are usually finalized in the offices rather than on ground, giving rise to favouritism and even nepotism and making the State to suffer”.
Sources close to the custodians of sports in the State revealed that the selectors are often approached by the higher officials/officers to make changes of their choice even in the selected teams.
How can a higher official, who does not know ‘abc’ of the game do justice to the team by picking a player of his choice, is a million dollar question.
Sources said that the selectors despite wanting entry of the outstanding players, who after performing well in Inter-Zone and Inter-District Tournaments and were on State duty, participating in prestigious tournament during the Inter-Division trials, were forced to leave them out to induct ‘blue-eyed’, making the State teams to suffer.
Sources recalled that the State Under-19 girls cricket team had clinched gold in National School Games in the year 2005 when the team was selected in hurry because of the interference of the then J&K Women Cricket Association, which had forced 4 players to skip from the selected team just three days before the commencement of the Tournament, adding that the selectors had taken the healthy stand of picking outstanding 4 girls to replace these rebel cricketers and the result was evident.
Experts believe that the formation of the better State teams is never possible without holding good number of trial matches and healthy coaching camps.
“Expecting good show from a team which is selected without holding trial matches and coaching camps is as good as flogging a dead horse. It is observed that the trials and coaching camps are usually eyewash in the scheme of things in J&K,” said a renowned trainer of the State.
The State Government which is striving hard for uplifting the standard of sports in the State, needs to take remedial measures in order to ensure that the selections are made in a proper manner and the coaching camps are organized in a healthy atmosphere.