SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Tuesday said that UT administration has accorded top priority to the sports and opportunities as well as resources have been created to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of millions of talented youths.
He was speaking at the inaugural function of 28th National Masters Table Tennis Championships 2022 at SK Indoor Sports Complex, Srinagar.
The championship is being organised by J&K Table Tennis Association in collaboration with J&K Sports Council & Indian Veterans Table Tennis Committee under the aegis of Table Tennis Federation of India. More than 1000 players and officials from 28 states, 8 UTs and different institutions are competing in the championship.
While speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor said that the government’s effort is to harness the power of youth so they can unleash their full potential in sporting arena.
Sports Council has been making extraordinary efforts to create world-class infrastructure, supporting athletes and coaches to deliver performances on national and the world stage, he added.
Sports Council is reaching out to every young talent, today. Be it water sports, cricket, football, badminton, judo, wushu, rugby, tennis, hockey, gymnastics, table tennis or lawn tennis, we have better coaching and infrastructure in all sporting disciplines, the Lt Governor said.
Expressing gratitude to Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for ushering in a new sporting era across the country, the Lt Governor said, for the first time, sports and sportspersons are getting due resources, respect, and handholding. Earlier, despite having the second largest population in the world, we were not able to create the sports icons that could inspire the new generation, he added.
The Lt Governor said that the country’s performance in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games is testimony to the positive change brought in by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. Today, our heroes are giving new energy, new inspiration to young India by their spellbinding performances in all major sporting events across the globe, he added.
The Lt Governor observed that a similar change was started in Jammu and Kashmir after 2019 and, in the last three years, the UT has emerged as a bright spot in the field of sports on the national and international stage.
Earlier, only 2-3 lakh players used to get the opportunity to play in a year. But now the situation has changed and last year, more than 17 lakh youth were provided an opportunity to play, whereas this year we have set a target to connect 35 lakh youth with sports. A huge step has been taken to safeguard the future of the sportspersons through the Sports Policy launched in January this year. Earlier, there was no incentive for players to participate in sports tournaments but we have ensured that both cash awards as well as government jobs are given to the players. They are the new icons of youth, he further added.
This year, 13 national tournaments will be organized in J&K and 11,000 players from all over the country will showcase their talent in the UT with the support of all sports bodies. The Sports Council has also launched ‘My Youth My Pride’ program to reach out to the players at the grassroots level to develop a sports culture, and around five lakh sportspersons will get an opportunity to showcase their talent in various disciplines of sports with the help of 53 sports associations, it was informed.
Highlighting the major improvements in the sports infrastructure across the UT, the Lt Governor said that world class sports infrastructure has been developed in Jammu and Kashmir under the guidance of Prime Minister. FIFA Standard Bakshi Stadium and ICC Standard MA Stadium have been upgraded and renovated for international level matches. Today, we have succeeded in creating a Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Hall in every district of Jammu and Kashmir with all facilities as per the requirements of the players, he said.
The Lt Governor appreciated the grit of veterans participating in the Masters tournament and expressed hope that their experience and energy will become an inspiration for the new generation. He also presented shawls as a token of appreciation to the veterans on the occasion.
Chairperson J&K Waqf Board, Dr Darakhshan Andrabi, while speaking on the occasion lauded the LG led UT Administration bringing a new era of sports development and providing ample opportunities to the sports persons in the UT.
Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to Lt Governor highlighted the transformation taking place in the field of sports in J&K. Sports has been among the top priorities of the Administration and the UT of Jammu Kashmir has now become the power house of sporting talent, he added.
Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary to the Government, Youth Services & Sports, in his welcome address informed that more than 1000 players & officials, including 140 women and eight players aged 80 years & above from every nook and corner of the nation are competing in around 30 different categories. More than 500 TT tables are being provided to the schools to facilitate budding players, he added.
Junaid Azim Mattu, Mayor SMC; Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir; Sh. Sujit Kumar, DIG CKR Srinagar; Mohammad Aijaz, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar; Rakesh Balwal, SSP Srinagar; Subash Chander Chhibber, Director Youth Services & Sports; Nuzhat Gul, Secretary, J&K Sports Council; Ajay Sharma, Chairman of J&K Table Tennis Association and Organizing Secretary of the Championship, besides senior officers, members of sports associations, prominent sports personalities, and sports persons in large numbers were present on the occasion.