SRINAGAR, Aug 18:Urging youth to explore the ever-growing world of sports, the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, today vowed to nurture talent and rekindle the desire amongst our youth and children for excelling in sports, which is one of the most highly-paid professions in the world.He emphasized upon playing rather than watching sports and promised a new framework that envisages incentives for youth who pursue a career in sports. “We will start with schools and colleges, which are ideal places to instil a sporting culture, and identify raw talent for further grooming,” he stated.
The Chief Minister said this while chairing the 55th meeting of the J&K Sports Council, in the Civil Secretariat, here today.Till the office-bearers are elected formally, the governing body, as an interim measure, also unanimously chose amongst its Members, Javed Shah, Sports Promoter, as interim Secretary, Zameer Thakur, as Joint Secretary, Kashmir and Shiv Kumar Sharma as Joint Secretary, Jammu, to run the Council’s day-to-day affairs.
Minister for IT, Youth Services & Sports & Technical Education, Imran Raza Ansari, Principal Secretary, Planning & Development, B. R. Sharma, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Secretary, Technical Education, YS&S, Hirdesh Kumar, besides nominated Members Rahil Gupta, Rifat Abdul,Arun Malhotra, Wahid Parra, Mehboob Iqbal , Bari Indrabi , Fida Hussain, Gyal Punchok Wangyal, Krupalli Singh, Bilquees Mir, Sidharth Sharma, Rouf Tramboo, Ranjit Kalra, Kuldeep Gupta, Fida Hussain. Prof B A Shah, Rashid Choudhary, Nazir Ahmed, Mohd Amin Khan, Parvez Rasool and Rajinder Singh of J&K ,ports Council attended the meeting.
Asking the restructured sports administration to motivate youth, Mufti Sayeed, who is also the President of the J&K Sports Council, said the new generation seems more inclined towards watching rather than playing sports. “Healthy mind stays in a healthy body. We need to reverse the trend lest our youth end up becoming couch potatoes,” he observed, while referring to the gargantuan appetite of our youth in watching international sports, in particular cricket and football, on various satellite channels.
The Government recently reconstituted the State Sports Council by nominating 29 members who have excelled in the field of sports. Laying stress upon a new competitive framework which focuses on creation of quality infrastructure in schools and colleges in the first instance, the Chief Minister said a talented youth needs a good coach and support from his family and Government to prove his mettle, both at national and international levels. “We should set our eyes on the National Games to improve our scores and then aim higher,” he said, while highlighting the need for taking extra-curricular activities in schools and colleges beyond the rituals and symbolism.
The Chief Minister directed members of the Sports Council to interact with physical teachers and staff of schools, colleges and universities to get feedback for devising a ‘Sports Itinerary’ in which inter-school, inter-college, inter-district and inter-division level events in all categories of sports are organized as regular annual features. “Sports Council should also have an eye for spotting talent which can be honed for achieving something big. Who knows we have huge talent, as good as any in the country, hiding somewhere,” he said.
Placing high priority upon improvement in condition of our sports stadia and playgrounds, Mufti Sayeed tasked the State Sports Council to depute teams for making on-the-spot assessment so that renovation and repair work is completed without further delay. He said the Government will release sufficient funds so that our playfields again reverberate with youth and sports. “I have myself seen the poor condition of our stadia and playgrounds across the state. These require urgent repair for which adequate funds will be sanctioned,” he promised.
During the previous meeting of J&K Sports Council held on June 16, the Chief Minister had issued directions for broadening the scope of sports activities by involving Deputy Commissioners in organizing events, drawing up an annual sports calendar, engaging trained coaches and restoring sports infrastructure damaged in last year’s floods.
Imran Raza Ansari, in his remarks, said the reconstituted body has given representation to those persons who have distinguished themselves in the field of sports and contributed immensely towards its promotion. He assured the Chief Minister that the State Sports Council will give a new direction to the body so that its benefits accrue to our talented youth.
Earlier, Secretary, Youth Services and Sports, informed the Chief Minister that Rs.6 crore have been released for carrying out urgent repairs and renovation of the sports infrastructure, including stadia. “The Department is also expecting Rs.200 crore special package from the Centre, besides Rs. 25 crore which is being pursued with Relief and Rehabilitation Department under World Bank package for restoring flood-damaged infrastructure,” he said and added that DCs will now function as Chairman of revised District Sports Councils as directed by the Chief Minister.
He said the notification for utilizing services of in-service qualified coaches and outstanding sports-persons has been issued and the applications received are being examined by the department.The Chief Minister had directed the Sports Council to identify all outstanding sports-persons, who have been appointed in various Government departments, so that their experience in the field of sports can be better utilized in coaching of youngsters.