Self-styled sportspersons call shots, real ‘heroes’ remain wanting

Associations mar talent, befool players
*Word ‘International’ debased

Rajesh Dhar
JAMMU, Mar 5: Despite the fact that the State of Jammu and Kashmir, under Governor’s Administration is leaving no stone unturned in uplifting the standard of sports in every nook and corner of the State to carve a space on India’s sports map, a good number of self-styled sportspersons call shots to rule the roost and the real ‘heroes’ in sports field remain wanting in the State.
It has been observed that most of the Sports Associations in the State either mar talent or befool budding sportspersons for their vested interests.
According to reliable sources, most of the recognized Sports Associations, which are affiliated to the elitist Sports Body of the State-the Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council, usually pick the teams of their choice to represent the State at the National scene, giving way to quota, favouritism and even nepotism, thus nipping the real talent at the bud.
These Associations have their Central Secretariats either at Srinagar or at Jammu and it has been learnt that most of these Associations select the State teams predominantly on regional bias, thus sacrificing skill and class.
Sources close to Sports Council reveal that the General Secretaries of most of the ill structured Associations sometimes take big number of players from their own area with a sole aim to help non-sportspersons to achieve Sports Category Certificates, least caring for health of the State teams, thus debarring real sportspersons from their meritorious rights.
Sources further said that the office bearers of some Sports Associations are more concerned about helping their favourites to achieve Sports Category Certificates than helping the State teams to blossom at the higher levels.
“What is shocking is the fact that some Associations pick the players from a particular school or a club and make them to represent the State in an invitational tournament, wherein their so-called Federations invite teams from the other States and even other countries, thus claiming that these players have represented the Country in an International event. In short, word ‘International’ has been debased rather defiled in the scheme of things of these Associations. One feels humiliated to see the real sporting icons of the State like Surya Bhanu Pratap, Chain Singh, Col Ranveer, Parvez Rasool, Kuldeep Handoo, Krupali Singh, Bilquis Mir, Mehraj-u-din Wadoo, Arun Malhotra, Meenal Gupta, Palak Kour and Bavleen Kour etc, are kept in the league of some artificial sportspersons as far as awarding and rewarding outstanding sportspersons of the State is concerned. The artificial sportspersons, on the other hand, just participate in invitational tournaments, which hardly need any qualification and achieve certificates to rule the roost,” expressed outstanding sportsperson of the State while giving vent to his feelings on the condition of anonymity.
“It is observed that there is fictitious distribution of Sports Category Certificates. Heavy money is being exchanged in providing jobs to non-sportspersons. Let the fraud happen is the buzz word in some Associations,” revealed senior member of Sports Council.
It is pertinent to mention here that there are around 50 recognized Sports Associations in the State, with around 10 Associations having disputes within them. The Associations with disputes often leave the players in the lurch and what is more worrying is the fact that these Associations have some office bearers who are the employees of J&K State Sports Council. So, expecting clearance of the disputes of these Associations which have some members from the Council is simply to cry for the moon as one faction remains always at the receiving end because of the squint-eyed treatment from the Sports Council.
Sources said that despite the fact that there are around six recognized disciplines in Martial Art, the State of Jammu and Kashmir sends the teams in around 20 Martial Art disciplines to represent it at the Nationals.
For that matter, if six Martial Art disciplines are recognized and their certificates have the validity and grace, then what about the other 14 disciplines.
Aren’t their custodians befooling the budding sportspersons by telling them lie and making them participate in fictitious and unrecognized tournaments?
How humiliating is it that the custodians of these fictitious Associations by pooling money from the players, select the team from a particular school and make it play abroad and claim that the school has represented the country at the International level.
The disciplines like Mastogi-Do, Hapkido, Silambam, Pencak Silat, Ill Moo Kwang-do, 7-a-side cricket etc, despite having no recognition make State teams to represent at the higher levels, simply befooling the budding sportspersons and wasting their precious time. Such Associations have hardly any recognition at Asian, Commonwealth or Olympic Level. Making new Associations everyday and picking players has become a custom, a practice and a system in J&K.
Such Associations while finding it tough to get recognition and affiliation from concerned Federations, have taken new route of affiliating themselves with School Games Federation of India (SGFI), which is not a costlier affair.
With such a system in practice, expecting Jammu and Kashmir establish its place on the Country’s Sports Map is simply to red-rag a bull.
“We are trying to tighten the noose of those Sports Associations, who befool the players and play with their careers. We will soon notify the revised list of recognized Associations. We also advise the parents and the players to check with the Sports Council Office about the activities of the activities of a particular Association before sending their wards to them,” said a former Standing Committee member of J&K State Sports Council.
He further said that the last Standing Committee of the Sports Council had considered initiating criminal proceedings through District Magistrates (Chairmen of District Sports Councils) to punish these fraudulent Associations.
Expressing anonymity, the General Secretary of one of the prominent Sports Associations of the State said that the Council has different yardsticks for measuring performance of the Associations.
It is need of the hour that the Government comes down heavily upon these fake Associations, to provide genuine platform for the budding sportspersons of the State to raise the standard of sports in the State.
The sports disciplines and the sportspersons need to be categorized and classified in accordance to their merit, which will stop self-styled sportspersons from calling shots. Real sporting heroes of the State deserve a better deal.
Time is ripe to stay away from a Kashmiri epitaph ‘Rabb Te Sabb Chhae Hishi Katha’.