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J&K athletes-from pretenders to contenders

SRINAGAR, NOVEMBER 09: The 37th National Games that concluded today in Goa has scripted a new chapter in the sport’s history of the J&K with its athletes stamping an authority of talent, grit, determination, handwork, and perseverance.

While the foundation for J&K’s best-ever performance was laid by rhythmic gymnastics bagging silver medals thereafter the performances came rolling one after the other aggregating as many as forty-six medals; including fourteen gold, fourteen silver, and eighteen bronze medals and the team J&K figured in the first twelve performers in the games.

Before this participation, the J&K team had seldom crossed the double figure mark except for two occasions, one in 2011 when the National games were held at Jharkhand and the team bagged twelve medals including four silver and eight bronze titles however the team was ranked twenty-sixth in the medal tally. Similarly in 2015, the team J&K pocketed as many as fifteen medals, including three gold, two silver, and ten bronze medals.

The success achieved by the J&K athletes did not come to the fore overnight but is the hard work of athletes over the years backed by some remarkable transformations in the background.

Sports enthusiasts believe that one of the main factors contributing to the rise of performance can be easily attributed to the transparency in the selection process when fielding athletes for major competitions. Ipso facto the process has been made multilayered to ensure that the best athletes reach the arena. The battery of coaches, the best in the business are available at the beck and call of the athletes, guiding, helping, and supporting them to realize their potential and achieve success in the niche they compete in.

Moreover, the training and learning facilities have come a long way to help athletes hone their skills and the advent of high-performance centres has only made things better in terms of preparations when comparing it to the past. The international-level facilities coupled with expert advice and training have played a crucial role in this year’s performance said one of the members of the contingent. With around a hundred Khelo India Centres to train athletes professionally, the number is the highest in the country in addition to the Centre of Excellence in Water Sports and Fencing.

The performance of the athletes is not limited to any sports discipline but they are excelling in almost every field they take to.

The effort pooled in both by the players and the UT administration bears a testimony to the sincerity of the purpose and defeating strong competitors like SSCB, Gujarat, Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, and West Bengal etc is quite an accomplishment for everyone to take note of.

Advisor R.R Bhatnagar while extending his congratulations to members of the J&K contingent said that the relentless dedication and unyielding spirit of the athletes has led them to this momentous journey. “The countless hours of rigorous training, strategizing, and hard work you have put into honing your craft have paid off in the most glorious fashion,” said Bhatnagar.

“Your outstanding performance not only brings honour and glory to J&K but also serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes across the region, remarked Advisor. “You have showcased what can be achieved through unwavering determination and a belief in one’s abilities, he added.

Congratulating the J&K team, Sarmad Hafeez Commissioner Secretary, Youth Services and Sports Department extended his warmest congratulations to the J&K contingent on their splendid performance and putting up an exemplary show in the national games.

The remarkable achievement in the 37th National Games held in Goa is a testament to the relentless efforts put in by our athletes, coaches, and support staff, said Sarmad. “I am filled with immense pride seeing our players shine on the bigger stages, bringing glory to our union territory, he added. “The athletes have showcased their exceptional skill levels and coupled their passion with determination and commitment to bring laurels to the J&K and performances like this always give you a sense of great satisfaction though I ardently believe that our athletes can touch skies,” said Sarmad Hafeez.

Terming the medallists as an inspiration to aspiring athletes and a source of pride, Secretary Sports Council, Nuzhat Gull congratulated the medallists on their exceptional performances. Gull said that each triumph of our athletes is a testament to hard work, talent, and unwavering spirit. “Each member of the J&K Winning Team has demonstrated unparalleled sportsmanship, passion, and commitment, setting an example for others to follow”, Gull concluded.

Pertinently the sports policy 2022 which incentivized sports is the major boost to the toil that athletes go through. The policy provides for the monetary benefits and government employment to the best performing athletes of the union territory of J&K. Moreover, the allowances entitled to athletes are transferred to their personal accounts through DBT mode to ensure every single penny reaches to the beneficiaries directly.

Meanwhile, congratulatory messages are pouring in from all quarters on the outstanding achievement of the team J&K. “Hope athletes continue the winning streak in the future endeavours too” wrote many sports buffs while taking to the microblogging sites. One of the sports enthusiasts Waheed wrote that you have made all of us immensely proud, and we cannot wait to witness the incredible achievements that lie ahead for each one of you.