Sports Council striving hard to engage rural youth in sports activities

Sets target of 7.50 lakh youth involvement under various initiatives
Goldi Sharma
JAMMU, Apr 29: The J&K Sports Council is leaving no stone unturned to weaning away the youth from the anti-social activities by engaging them in various sports activities through its Khelo India Centre at District level and providing advance online coaching especially to the rural youth, so that they can prove their mettle at national and international level.
To engage the rural youth in sports activities, the Council had developed a spree of playfields at block level and border villages across the Union Territory including at Marh (Jammu) Gogo Rangreth (Budgam), Budhi (Kathua), Purmandal (Samba), Salmeri Vijaypur, RS Pura, Kupwara, Rajouri and Palma playfield in the Akhnoor to provide a doorstep sport facility under the various schemes viz Pradhan Mantri Development Package (PMDP), Capex budget and other schemes including Jammu and Kashmir Infrastructure Development Finance Commission (JKIDFC).
Although, the Council is facing acute shortage of manpower including professional coaches, sports managements professionals, technical experts, sports science experts, dieticians and nutritionists but despite all of things, the Council has succeeded to provide advanced coaching to 26000 youth through its online coaching programmes/ fitness skills at home during the peak COVID waves in Judo, Gymnastics, Hockey, Basketball, Yoga, Volleyball, Martial Arts, Football and many others disciplines of the sport.
Under the Khelo India Scheme- three ‘State Centre of Excellence’ were developed in the year 2020-21 including State Centre of Excellence in Fencing at MA Stadium, Water Sports at Nehru Park Srinagar and state of art Gymnastic Academy at MA Stadium which provides a platform to youth to prove their mettle at national and international competitions, besides providing venue for hosting of national level competitions.
An official of the Council told Excelsior that after the successful conduct of 2nd edition of National Winter Games at world famous tourist place, Gulmarg wherein 1200 athletes from 27 States and Union Territories participated which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister through e-message video.The J&K emerged as champion in the medals tally.
“It can be gauged from this fact that the medal tally of J&K UT at National level competition in 2021-22 in nearly 14 disciplines were 72 Gold, 90 Silver and 145 Bronze medals and it is the highest in the history of Jammu and Kashmir so far which depicts devotion and hard work of the Council to groom the players in a right direction,” official disclosed.
After the successful conduct of 2nd edition of Khelo India National Winter Games, now the Council has pulled their socks for hosting the 3rd Khelo India National Winter Games at Gulmarg and conduct of water sports competitions at Basohli where construction work of world level Water Sports Centre is going on full swing to provide exposure to the talented athletes and interaction with the reputed players of the country, said the official.
Apart from the successful creation of new sports infrastructure and renovation and development of existing infrastructure of MA Stadium and Bakshi Stadium for the conduct of international matches of cricket and football, the Council is striving hard to overcome the challenges being directly influencing the players especially rural youth and set a target of participation of 7.50 lakh players in the sports activities in the incumbent financial year.
The identified challenges which adversely affect the functioning of the Council i.e lack of expertise in the sports field including professional coaches, sports management professionals, technical experts, sports science experts, dieticians and nutritionists.
Lack of residential facilities for trainees at Srinagar, Jammu and Gulmarg in popular sports disciplines including Winter Sports, Fencing and Water-sports where players can be groomed in a professional atmosphere aiming to reach to the podium finishers at National and International level, shortage of manpower to maintain and upkeeping the existing sports infrastructure facilities developed under Pradhan Mantri Development Package and other schemes and watch and ward facilities in every stadia/playfield across the Union Territory.
Under the PMDP, the Government sanctioned construction of indoor halls in every district of the Union Territory of Rs 88 crores including Kargil indoor hall in which nearly 13 halls are completed so far, while remaining 11 are under construction.