SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, along with Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Sh. Kiren Rijiju today inaugurated the 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 Shri 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 the Khelo India Centre of Excellence Scheme, said the Lt Governor.
Dedicating the Water Sports Centre of Excellence to the 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 covert 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.
The Lt Governor said that the second Water Sports Centre is coming up at Ranjit Sagar Dam in Kathua to promote water sports in the Jammu division, and hoped that it would also be adopted as the Khelo India Centre of Excellence.
J&K is the 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 Lt Governor.
Terming sports activities and their promotion as an important tool for social change, the Lt Governor called upon the sportspersons to be the ambassadors of the country and its development.
“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 Lt Governor.
Highlighting the measures taken by the Government for the promotion of sports in the region, the Lt Governor said that last year, despite the challenges of the Corona epidemic, a number of sports tournaments were held, following all protocols, to provide a platform for the talents in our UT.
We are aiming to provide high standard training to young boys and girls of Jammu and Kashmir in all 53 disciplines of the Olympic Games this year. At least 15 lakh youth of J&K would get opportunities to participate in various sports activities, observed the Lt Governor.
Around 8500 players are estimated to participate in the upcoming Premier League in four disciplines – Football, Kabaddi, Volleyball and Hockey, he added.
Underscoring the significance of Monitoring and Mentoring in water sports, the Lt Governor remarked that “Our responsibility in water sports is not limited to just providing resources but constant monitoring, world-class training and evaluation should also be done, with research activities added to it.
Nature has endowed Jammu and Kashmir with a number of lakes and rivers and our athletes have taken full benefit of it. Our Athletes winning more than 100 medals at the National level in the last three years itself speaks about the kind of talent and ability they possess, he added.
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 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, said the Lt Governor.
He also mentioned Cyclist Adil Teli, who recently made a world record in cycling from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Adil’s passion has brought him to that position today and he has become an inspiration for youngsters all over the world.
Speaking on the budgetary provision for sports, the Lt Governor maintained that in the recent budget, an amount of Rs 513 crore has been kept for Youth Empowerment and Sports.
“We are working at many levels in the field of sports in Jammu and Kashmir. Our foremost aim is to identify the grassroots talent, then provide them with the right training and environment, and select promising players in a transparent manner for national and international tournaments.”
The promotion was needed to adopt sports as a career along with curriculum at the school level. Therefore, it was decided that sports kits worth Rs 20,000 would be given to children in all 4290 panchayats. Today, I can say with great pride that J&K is better equipped with sports infrastructure and facilities than many other states and UTs, said the Lt Governor.
With a view to honing the skills of local talent, Jammu and Kashmir administration signed an MoU with former International player Suresh Raina to find young talent from small towns and villages, added the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor also underlined the important role of the corporate groups in paving a permanent arrangement for the career growth of champion sportspersons from J&K. He urged the big companies to sponsor the players in their CSR activity and support their career growth.
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Sh. Kiren Rijiju assured full sport of Union Ministry in development of sports in J&K. For the promotion of football amongst the women folks, we are planning to conduct Women Football league in the region, added the Union MoS.
Farooq Khan, Advisor to Lt Governor; Alok Kumar, Principal Secretary Youth Services and Sports; P.K Pole, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; Vijay Kumar, IGP, Kashmir; Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary Tourism; S N Meena, Senior Director SAI; Mohammad Aijaz, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar; Rahul Pandey, Director Information & PR; Nuzhat Gul, Secretary J&K Sports Council; President Water Sports Association, and other officers besides, Sports personalities were present on the occasion.
On the occasion, various water sports activities, demonstrations showcasing water sports talent of J&K including kayaking, Surf Riding, Canoe Slalom, Dal lifestyle, Water skiing, Canoe Sprint Race, swimming, besides, cultural programmes were presented to mark the event.