Opinion | Sports Scenario in Jammu and Kashmir

People in Jammu and Kashmir were like a ship without a rudder for 70 years. They were given few chances to demonstrate their abilities while having the talent to compete at any level. However, on august 5, 2019, a transitory clause of the constitution known as article 370 was repealed, opening up a whole new universe for athletes in the Himalayan region. The three regions that made up the former state of Jammu and Kashmir were distinguished from one another by their values in terms of religion, culture, and tradition. Only athletics could bring them together. The administration has traditionally used sports as a tool for reaching out to and reengaging Kashmiri youth. However, the young who had begun harbouring hopes of following sports as their career have lowered their expectations due to the lack of sports activities at ground zero after august 5, 2019. The 69 percent of Jammu and Kashmir population is under the age of 25. Teenagers are more likely than adults to associate with radical causes, which further radicalises the youth. Since august 5, 2019, no one has attempted to engage with people who have been joining militant forces. The average age of youth in Kashmir who become militants has been discovered to be below 30.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police’s initiative to contact the “misguided” teenagers again is commendable, nevertheless. Sports events at ground zero could aid in thwarting such actions. Long ago, the Jammu and Kashmir government founded the youth services & sports department and Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council (JKSSC) to develop young people and give them a platform to succeed in sports on a national and international scale. But aside from the Olympics, J&K has yet to produce a sportsperson who could have risen to the challenge of winning a gold medal at the Asian games.The decision by the prime minister Narendra Modi-led government to revoke alleged special status and convert it into a union territory has turned out to be a game-changer since during the previous three years, the administration made sure that Jammu and Kashmiryoungsters excelled in every area of life. To develop a world-class sports infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir many steps have been made.
To make Jammu and Kashmir a sporting superpower, new laws have been put in place. Local athletes working hard to represent UT and the country with pride in a variety of sports are given all the support they can get. The year-round athletic events take place as extensive infrastructure construction takes place. The emphasis is not just on sports like football and cricket, but also on well-liked activities like volleyball, kho-kho, kabaddi, water sports, and winter sports that were previously disregarded.The inaugural open kayaking and canoeing marathon race, conducted by the   Jammu and Kashmir sports council, took place in Srinagar’s River Jhelum in April of this year. It was impossible to organise such an event before august 5, 2019, when the centre announced its plan to revoke Jammu and Kashmir Special Status and partition it into two union territories, as the necessary infrastructure was not in place. The necessary sports infrastructure has been built during the last three years to accommodate such events. The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir may become the most popular location for water sports due to the presence of natural water resources.
The Ranjit Sagar dam hosted water sports last year, and this year they will also be held in Jhelum, Manasbal, Nigeen, and Wullar.  On the dal lake in Srinagar, rowing events reminiscent of shikara regattas were formerly the main attraction of water sports competitions in the halcyon 1950s through 1980s.Jammu and Kashmir Two water sports centres, one in Jammu and the other in Srinagar, have been authorised for by the union ministry of sports. The primary goals are to construct venues that meet Olympic standards and develop the skills needed to compete in the upcoming Olympic games. For many years, the previous governments’ ruling regimes mostly ignored water sports. But over the last three years, noteworthy accomplishments have been made. For rowing, kayaking, canoeing, and canoe slalom, the Jammu and Kashmirgovernment has purchased equipment worth Rs 6 crore to offer the greatest possible facility to water sports enthusiasts. Kayaking and canoeing are the fifth-largest Olympic competitions. Jammu and Kashmir   has won up to 84 medals from 200 national-level competitions during the past four years.A record-breaking 17 lakh young people from Jammu and Kashmir took part in various sports events in 2021.
The government anticipates a significant rise in participation this year, and over 35 lakh adolescents are likely to be recruited to take part in various sports events. In 14 sports disciplines, Jammu and Kashmir   won 72 gold, 90 silver, and 145 bronze medals in 2020–21. The Jammu and Kashmir   government has started a programme to encourage young sports culture. People in Jammu and Kashmir   now believe that since article 370 has been repealed, all the activities that were put on hold when a Pakistan-sponsored insurgency broke out in 1989–1990 will be resumed, and the Himalayan region will once again be in its original splendour.
– The writer is associated with Kashmir Writers’ Association and can be reach on: [email protected]

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