Despite global Covid-19 pandemic, which badly affected almost every field, not to talk of the field of sports only, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir witnessed upswing in sports field with regard to development of sports infra, enhancement of sports culture, improvement of sports skill and above all representation of sportspersons at the highest level. The emergence of sensational speedster Umran Malik, rise of promising, stylish and gritty gymnast, Bavleen Kaur at the national scene, para athlete Chandeep Singh’s heroics at the World Games, Atul Pangotra’s brilliance at International level, the duo of Kuldeep Handoo and Krupali Singh’s role as Chief Coaches of India in their respective sports disciplines and above all, the selection of the trio of Sarla Devi, Arya Thakur and Bawandeep Kour in prestigious Challengers Trophy were a few highlights which every member of sports fraternity of the UT ought to be proud of. Moreover, despite poorest show by J&K Footballers in Santosh Trophy- courtesy, fractured and jaundiced JKFA, the quartet of young footballers in Sajjad Hussain, Ravi Rana, Muheet Shabir and Danish Farooq made their presence felt at the bigger circuit in the year 2021. Young Footballer Suhail Bhat won hearts with his extraordinary soccer skills. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which otherwise, is striving hard to craft a space on the country’s sports map, had a good fortune for sports in 2021. The players and officials of medal winning sports disciplines continued their brilliance at the National and International scene. However, dismal show by the sportspersons was also observed in some games. The frontline sports association-JKCA got the new team in Brig Anil Gupta, cricketer Mithun Manhas and Advocate Sunil Sethi, while frontline sports department/organisation launched historic YSS Cup 2021 in all 20 districts of Union Territory. Finally, the UT of J&K, which is striving hard to create a niche in sports field, succeeded in crafting a space on the country’s sports map. RAJESH DHAR sums up the sports scenario in J&K in the year that passed away.
Sensational Umran makes India-A cut
Rookie Jammu and Kashmir pacer Umran Malik made it to the India A squad that toured South Africa in November this year. The 21-year-old Malik, a right-arm pacer, has played just one List A and eight T20 matches so far in his nascent career. He has not played any red-ball game yet.
He got everyone excited with his raw pace during the IPL in UAE last month. He had clocked 152.95 kph – the fastest of the tournament during Sunrisers Hyderabad’s game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, whose captain Virat Kohli was left impressed. He alongwith talented Abdul Samad were retained by SRH for Rs. 4 crore each.
The youngster has risen through the ranks despite humble beginnings. His father owns a small fruit shop in Jammu’s Gujjar Nagar area.
Handoo receives Award from Anurag
In recognition to his contribution as Chief Wushu Coach of India and for producing quality International stuff, J&K’s only Dronacharya Awardee, Kuldeep Handoo received Trophy from the Union Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur, at New Delhi on November 1, 2021. Handoo is the recipient of FICCI Coach of the year 2016 Award, State Award, Sher-e-Kashmir Award and Purshoram Award. He is National Chief Coach of India since 2010.
Gymnast Bavleen represents India
Ace Gymnast from Jammu and Kashmir, Bavleen Kour represented India in the 38th World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship, an official event of the International Gymnastics Federation at Japan in the month of October. Arjuna Awardee Krupali Singh was the Coach of Indian team for this prestigious event.
Bavleen Kaur is an outstanding Gymnast of the country and has made J&K proud, many a time, by winning medals at the national scene. Earlier, Bavleen has won four bronze medals in the 3rd Rhythmic Gymnastics Emirates Cup at Dubai, 5th position in the Rhythmic Gymnastics Thailand Open at Bangkok, Thailand, besides stealing the limelight at the Khelo India Youth Games held in India in 2019, winning three gold and two silver medals. She Acredits her success to her coaches Krupali Patel Singh and SP Singh.
Atul excels as Coach, Referee
Atul Pangotra, State Awardee and Sher-e-Kashmir Awardee, 2-time Commonwealth Medalist. Working in Youth Services & Sports Department and presently deputed in J&K State Sports Council as a Taekwondo Coach excelled as Coach and Referee in 2021.
As a Coach his trainee Chandeep Singh Sudan represented India in 9th World Para Taekwondo Championships at Istanbul, Turkey and won 2nd consecutive Silver medal for the country. He is the only medal winner from India.
As a International Referee, Atul officiated in the World Taekwondo Poomsae Online Championship,
Online World Taekwondo Challenge I Championship, Online World Taekwondo Challenge III (Finals) Championship, European Online Taekwondo Poomsae Championship, Korean Culture Centre Embassy Cup Online Taekwondo Poomsae Championship. He officiated many other Online Taekwondo Poomsae Championships as an International Referee. The only Referee from India who officiated in World Taekwondo recognised events. He was in the top 50 Referees list for Tokyo Paralympics but due to Covid pandemic missed last qualification in Bulgaria. Atul attended Online Referee Seminar of World Taekwondo.
He is the first Indian Coach who qualified World Taekwondo Level-II Coach Course.
SMVDSB Para Archers Rakesh, Jyoti blossom
Rakesh Kumar and Jyoti Baliyan, two Para-Archers of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board’s Sports Complex qualified for Tokyo Paralympics, 2021 .
Rakesh put up a good fight in the high-intensity encounter against the strong Chinese Archer in the quarterfinal compound Archery Section but lost marginally, while Jyoti Baliyan in the women’s individual open ranking round also displayed good skill.
Chain Singh shoots gold
J&K’s top shooter bagged gold in ISSF World Cup in 2021. Adding to India’s gold rush, the troika of Niraj Kumar, Swapnil Kusale and Chain Si
ngh won the gold medal in the 50m rifle 3 positions men’s team event of the ISSF World Cup, comfortably beating the USA 47-25 in the final. Kumar, Kusale and Singh led through the final to easily claim the top prize ahead of the American team of Nickolaus Mowrer, Timothy Sherry and Patrick Sunderman at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range. This was India’s 12th gold in the marquee event. The Indians started well with 10.1, 10.5, and 9.5 to the Americans’ 9.9, 9.8 and 9.5 in the first series. Chain Singh has brought laurels to the Union Territory and the country as well in many major events held around the globe.
JKCA gets new team
The otherwise jaundiced Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) got the new team of administrators to run its affairs. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) constituted a 4-member Committee in Sourav Ganguly, Jay Shah, Arun Dhumal and Rajeev Shukla, besides a 3-member Sub Committee in Brig Anil Gupta, Advocate Sunil Sethi and Cricketer Mithun Manhas to run the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) smoothly and successfully. Cricketer Majid Dar has also been appointed to look after the cricket affairs in Srinagar and report the same to the Sub Committee. So far professionalism has been a ‘buzzword’ in JKCA with regard to provision of facilities and equipment, selection of teams, nomination of selectors and the selection of support staff. The highlight of this dynamic trio of Sub Committee has been the constitution of much awaited and historic Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC). JKCA has appointed former outstanding cricketers of the Union Territory as the members of the CAC in Ashwani Gupta, Abdul Qayoom and Roopali Slathia.
Para athlete Chandeep sparkles
Chandeep Singh International Para Taekwondo Athlete sparkled at the International scene as he won Silver medal in 9th World Para Taekwondo Championship at Istanbul Turkey in December 2021. He has the distinction of winning Silver in 8th World Para Taekwondo Championship 2019 and Gold medal in Asian Para Taekwondo Championship 2018. Chandeep is a trainee of Atul Pangotra of the Department of Youth Services & Sports, who is presently deputed in J&K Sports Council as a Taekwondo Coach.
Young Abrar wins gold in Athletics
Young athlete from Jammu and Kashmir, Abrar Choudhary won gold in 400 mtrs and silver in 200 mtrs race in 32nd North Zone Junior Athletics Championship held at Meerut (UP) from 20th to 22nd March 2021, besides a gold medal in 400 mtrs in the 3rd National Athletics Championship held at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium New Delhi from 11th to 12th October 2021.
Footballers blossom despite fractured Asso
Young and promising footballers of Jammu and Kashmir blossomed at the national scene with their individual endeavours and the backing of their Coaches despite the fractured rather jaundiced Jammu and Kashmir Football Association (JKFA) at the helm of affairs. While on the one hand, JK footballers showed dismal performance in Santosh Trophy, on the other hand the likes of Sajad Hussain Parray, Suhail Bhat, Ravi Rana, Muheet Shabir and Danish Farooq impressed with their extraordinary soccer skills at the higher levels. Sajad Hussain made it to the India Under-19 team, while Suhail Bhat got the national selectors nod for India Under-17 team. Moreover, goalkeeper Muheet Shabir made Kerala Blasters cut, Ravi Rana was picked by ATK Mohan Bagan for India Super League and Danish Farooq played for Bangaluru FC. Apart from their individual efforts, the credit of their success goes to their coaches namely J&K’s ace footballer Mehrajuddin Waddoo, Sajid Dar and Satpal Singh. Son of the soil, Arun Malhotra’s contribution in taping the talent at the grassroot level can’t be ignored.
Judoka Rakshanda wins hearts
Young and promising Judoka Rakshanda Mehak from the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir won hearts as she clinched the bronze medal in World Deaf Judo Championship held in France in 2021.
Congratulating the winning team, Lieutenant Governor’s Advisor, Farooq Khan said the J&K Government is duty bound in its promise to take sports to the pinnacle of performance and scale new heights in the world sports arena.
“Our national girls team has won bronze medal by defeating the South Korean team. Nirchara Umed of Haryana in below 57 kg category, Divya Tiwari of Uttar Pradesh in below 52 kg category and Mehak of J&K have added one more feather in the cap,” he said.
Rakshanda is the student of famous Coach of J&K Sports Council, Suraj Bhan Singh.
Rajinder Singh dazzles
Rajinder Singh 2-time bronze medallist in the World Championship and silver in Asian Championship retained 5th Gold medal in the 30th Senior National Wushu Championship, while
Sadia Tariq and Ayeera Chisti reserved their berth for the National Wushu Coaching Camp for the Youth Asian Games to be held in December 2022 in China.
Adil paddles from Kashmir to Kanyakumari
A 23-year-old youth from Kashmir pedalled from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in just eight days, covering a distance of 3,600 kilometres, thus creating a Guinness Book of World Record for the fastest Kashmir to Kanyakumari journey on cycle.
Adil, who hails from Narbal in Kashmir’s Budgam district, completed the distance on cycle in eight days, 1 hour and 37 minutes. He started his journey from the iconic Ghanta Ghar at Lal Chowk in Srinagar around 7:30 am on March 22 this year and reached Kanyakumari around 9 am on March 30.
“I belong to Narwal. I did my schooling till tenth from Narwal. I went to Magam to complete my studies for classes 11th and 12th. Then I went to Gandhi Memorial College, Srinagar for graduation. Currently, I am pursuing my post-graduation from Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar where I am also undergoing cycling training.” informed Adil.
LG inaugurates Water Sports Academy
Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, along with the then Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju had inaugurated Khelo India Centre of Excellence, “Water Sports Academy” at Nehru Park in world-famous Dal Lake.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor expressed his gratitude towards Kiren Rijiju and thanked GoI, for adopting the Water Sports Centre as Khelo India Centre of Excellence.
The inauguration of the Khelo India Centre of Excellence is a moment of great happiness as the state-of-the-art centre of Excellence would give wings to the potential of many athletes. It is because of the immense potential of local athletes that the Central Government decided to develop this Water Sports Centre under Khelo India Centre of Excellence Scheme, said the Lt Governor.
Dedicating the Water Sports Centre of Excellence to public, the Lt Governor observed that the new facility will add another feather to the already existing infrastructure of water sports. The aim of Khelo India is to convert the basic structure of sports centres into a state-of-the-art sports facility with modern equipment, top-class coaches so that in the next 10 years, India would reach top ranks in Olympics, he added.
Second Water Sports Centre has come up at Ranjit Sagar Dam in Kathua to promote water sports in Jammu division, and hoped that it would also be adopted as the Khelo India Centre of Excellence. “J&K is best in the country in terms of modern water sports equipment. Last year, we launched International Standard Water Sports Equipment which will enable the athletes from the region to improve their performance and show great results in the national and international competitions,” added the LG.
“Jammu and Kashmir sportspersons are the brand ambassadors of India’s growing strength, its soft power, and the ambassadors for development and peace. As a symbol of youth power, our players are giving the message of peace and progress. Our water sports athletes will work towards peace, progress, and social harmony with this spirit,” observed the LG. “Open water is a highway to adventure, best travelled by a Kayak. Many of our young sportspersons of Canoeing and Kayaking have proven their mettle at the International platforms. “Renowned sportsperson and famous kayaking and canoeing coach Ms Bilquis Mir is a source of inspiration for young sportspersons. She has made the nation proud at many national and international events. With the coming up of Centres of Excellence, more such examples would come up,” added LG.
Sarla, Arya, Bawandeep make it to Challengers Trophy
Talented all-rounder Sarla Devi, Under-19 opening batsman Arya Suvansh Thakur and gutsy Under-19 batter Bawandeep Kour, with their splendid performances in their respective groups/formats, have made it to the prestigious Challengers Trophy this season. While Sarla got the selectors nod after taking 12 wickets and making 108 runs in Senior Women One-Day Tournament, Arya was selected for scoring two big fifties and making some valuable contributions as an opening batsman in the rain-hit Vinoo Mankad One-Day Trophy. Bawandeep got the national selectors nod for scoring good number of runs as the middle-order and opening batter in BCCI’s Under-19 girls One-Day Tournament. Explosive Bawandeep in the middle-order was made to curb her explosive instinct and shifted as an opener by JKCA Women Head Coach, Chetan Dhingra, which proved highly beneficial for her. What was good to witness was the fact that all the three cricketers made it to the Playing XI in the Challengers Trophy, which has never been a precedence before.
Shivansh scores at will
Promising youngster-a wicketkeeper/batsman Shivansh Sharma is busy in scoring at will in the ongoing prestigious Multi-Day Cooch Behar Trophy being played at Vizag. Shivansh has already scored over 400 runs in the four matches played by Jammu and Kashmir so far in the tournament, with two back to back centuries and two big fifties. Ignored by the selectors for representing JKCA in Vinoo Mankad Trophy, Shivansh has impressed one and all with his extraordinary skill and talent and is all set to make it big. What is more interesting is that the gutsy wicket-keeper/batsman has made all these runs while comming in at number-6 and number-7 positions.
J&K eves create history
The senior women team of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) created history by qualifying for the knockout stage for the first time. J&K defeated Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Bihar and Manipur in the group stage at Kolkata to qualify for the knockout stage which was played at Bengaluru. The brilliance of skipper Sandhya Sayal, all-rounder Sarla Devi, batter Bushra Ashraf, speedster Bismah Hassan, batter Sheeraza Banoo, leg-spinner Ananaya Chib and all-rounders Rudrakshi Chib and Rubiya Syed was a delight to watch. In the pre-quarters against formidable Delhi at Bengaluru, Jammu and Kashmir eves displayed a good show and had a narrow loss in a rain-hit shortened match. This team of Jammu and Kashmir showed promise, composure and application and played as a cohesive rather a well knit unit.
Fencers win gold
J&K Sabre Fencing Women team bagged gold in the 28th Junior National Fencing Championship held at Rudrapur, Uttrakhand in the month of March 2021. The team comprised of Shreya Gupta,Kritarthi Kotwal, Anant Samakshi and Malvi Arora. J&K Fencers have always been winning medals for themselves and bringing laurels for the UT and the country as well.The credit of their success goes to Fencing Coaches Shotu Lal Sharma and Rachna Jamwal.
DYSS launches history creator YSS Cup-2021
Creating history, the frontline Sports Department/Organisation-the Department of Youth Services and Sports (DYSS) launched the YSS Cup-2021- a sports extravaganza of four sporting disciplines, which got underway simultaneously in all 20 districts of the Union Territory on 16th of this month.
The Principal Secretary to Government Youth Services and Sports Department, Sh Alok Kumar declared the event open in an impressive, colourful and well attended function at Khel Gaon, Nagrota in Jammu.
9076 Panchayat/Block teams drawn from all 20 districts of the Union Territory in four sports disciplines namely Cricket, Kabaddi, Kho-Kho and Volleyball have been registered for this historic rather first of its kind sporting extravaganza, which will make around one lakh and twenty thousand athletes to vie for the top honours.
While Sh Alok Kumar was the chief guest on the occasion, Sh Gazanfar Ali, Director Youth Services and Sports, J&K presided over the function.
Addressing a large gathering of participants, the chief guest served strict directions to the organisers for ensuring mass participation of the Panchayati teams in this mega event. Alok Kumar said that Government was committed to promote sports in every nook and corner of the Union Territory and enhance sports culture by raising infrastructure even at the village level. Director Youth Services and Sports, Gazanfar Ali while lavishing praise on all 20 District Youth Services and Sports Officers, who observed the opening ceremony on virtual mode and simultaneously started the event at their respective venues, said that all of them deserved appreciation for doing the job smoothly, successfully and beautifully.
Skier Arif qualifies for Beijing Olympics
Jammu and Kashmir Alpine skier Arif Mohammed Khan has qualified for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing. Khan, who hails from North Kashmir booked the Winter Games ticket in an Olympic qualifier alpine skiing event in Dubai. He has earlier represented the country in many International events, including World Championships, besides winning a galaxy of medals at the national scene. Arif 31, has practised skiing consistently for eight to nine months a year in minus 20-25 degrees Celsius to make it to the coveted sports competition.
Skaters on a roll
J&K roller skaters won medals in the recently concluded 59th RSFI Roller Skating Championship held at Delhi. Puneesh Puri (U-11) bagged 2 gold medals, Udhay Narayan (U-14) also clinched two gold medals, Rajveer Singh (U-17) won one gold and one silver, Samarjot Singh (U-17) claimed one silver and Tamana Saini (U-14) bagged one bronze medal. Secretary Sports Council Nuzhat Ali and President J&K Roller Skating Association, GS Khurmi honoured the medalists for this achievement.
Rajesh Anand brings laurels
J&K’s ace roller hockey player- State and Sher-e-Kashmir Awardee, Inspector Rajesh Anand led the Roller Hockey Master’s team to win gold medal in 58th National Roller Skating Championship held at Chandigarh in 2021.Anand, has the distinction of representing India as skipper of Roller Hockey team and is presently coach of Indian Roller Hockey team and International Referee of Roller Hockey. He has the honour of representing country in International competitions for 17 times from 1987 to 2010 in Asian and World Championships.