For young swimmer Adil Mohi Ud Din Bhat getting selected in state’s Kayaking and Canoeing team was like miracle. But then it was his performance that made him an internationally recognized star. Riyaz Ul Khaliq profiles the budding sportsperson’s journey so far
For Adil Mohi Ud Din Bhat, 22, Kayaking-Canoeing happened just by chance. It was his proximity to the Dal Lake, where most of the water sports activities take place that he got exposed to Kayaking-Canoeing. One day while strolling near his house along Dal Lake, Adil saw Jammu and Kashmir Police’s water sports team practicing Kayaking-Canoeing. He got in touch with coach Farooq Ahmad and showed his willingness to learn the sport. “Farooq Sahab was supportive from day one and offered to coach me,” remembers Adil.
After going through rigorous training Adil started his career with swimming and participated in under-14 category. He won a gold medal at state level championship in swimming.
In 2006, he joined state Kayaking-Canoeing association and in junior category won bronze medal in the same year. His performance earned him a spot in national games of India for which he was sent for training to Assam.
In 2008, Adil formally joined J&K Police Water Sports team as Kayaking-Canoeing player. A year later he won 3 gold medals in all India police games held in Srinagar. Then came the first big break for Adil when he was selected to represent national police team of India in Bhintal, Uttrakhand.
In 2009, Adil again represented all India police in National Water Sports Championship and won 1 gold, 3 silvers and 1 bronze medal. The same year he won a silver medal in International Rafting Championship held at Sonmarg, Kashmir.
The next year was equally eventful for Adil as he not only passed his 10th standard exams but also won a silver and bronze in National Kayaking-Canoeing Championship held at Bhopal. In the same year he also won 2 gold and 3 silver medals while representing All India police team in Rudki, Uttrakhand.
After he won national games of India and was selected in Indian National Kayaking-Canoeing team in 2011, he was to represent India at World Kayaking-Canoeing Championship in Hungry. But as luck would have it, his passport was delayed. He missed the first chance.
But given his performance he was again called for participation in Asian Championship of Kayaking and Canoeing held in Tehran, Iran. He stood at 4th pace in the finals.
After coming back, Adil represented Indian Police team in Bangalore and won 3 silver medals. He was the only team member who managed to win a medal.
On 26th January, 2012 government announced an award for Adil. Interestingly he is yet to recieve that award.
However, Adil continued playing and won National Sprint Canoeing Championship held in Bhopal. Same year, he won 4th Dragon Boat National Championship in Kerala. “I was declared champion of the event,” says Adil. He came 6th in World Reggta Canoeing Championship held in Uzbekistan.
But 2013 was less eventful for Adil he just participated in 3rd International Rafting Championship held in Doda, where he won a bronze medal.
On 15th August 2012, state government facilitated him with Sher-i-Kashmir sports award. A year later state sports minister Taj Mohi Ud Din conferred him with another sports award.
But the budding sportsperson feels that despite awards and recognitions state government fails to take care of its sportsmen. “Only awards are not enough. We need money to survive too. Haryana, Punjab, and Uttrakhand pay their sportsmen huge money if they win an award while in Kashmir you get nothing,” says Adil.
The young champion feel that Kashmir has quality sportspersons but there is no policy or infrastructure to nourish raw talent. “We have hundreds of Parvez Rasools and Wadoos but government has to come forward and support them,” says Adil.