SRINAGAR: Sports is an instrument for directing, channelizing the energies of youth in right direction and Kashmir bears no exception to this. Importantly, Sport develops a sense of friendliness among the children and develop their team spirit. It helps children to develop mental and physical toughness. Sport shapes their body and makes it strong and active. From winter to summer, Autumn to Spring Kashmir is now witnessing quality sports activities all throughout the year. Amid all pain and gloom, sports are providing an island of solace to youth of Kashmir and many believe that if sports are taken serious by society and the government Kashmir will see much positivism and prosperity.
Faisal Ali, a martial arts coach from Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir running his Ali’s sports academy Kashmir in seven districts and training in fifteen sports martial arts , rugby, football. table tennis is providing a shining example to the society. While talking to the Kashmir News Bureau, Faisal Ali states – “We are training thousands of youth in different sports via our academies . The sports have paramount importance for our youth to gain and maintain physical fitness and strong mental health and keeps them away from all negative vices like Drug addiction . The present government has done much for sports than previous ones but still we need to do much as the basic sports infrastructure is still craving for improvement .We need to develop a separate world class sports area to let our youth thrive in right direction. “
Faisal Ali believes both government, society should take sports seriously – “ The youth should concentrate in one sports with full zeal and zest, Parents should respect value of sports for their children as it is not only serious career option but a way to maintain physical and mental health . We unfortunately as society and government often take sports in a non- serious way which has had damaging consequences. We need to take sports in proper professional way than only we can thrive as a society.”
Kashmiri kids from Tajamul , Hashim Mansoor , Abida Akthar Adnan fayaz who brought laurels for country on world level in sports are all product of Ali’s academy trained by Faisal Ali. It is worth mentioning here that Afshan Ashiq who hit national headlines in April Last year, when photographs of her pelting stones at the J&K Police went viral. Today, the spirited BA (Bachelors of Arts) student, who is the captain and goalkeeper of Jammu & Kashmir women’s football team , while talking to Bombay times has stated – “I won’t deny that incident being a part of my life, but when I look back, I regret & feel that I shouldn’t have done that. Today, I want to look ahead to a future in football & focus on fulfilling my dreams, instead of following others on the wrong path, says Afshaan Ashiq.
War Hyder, who plays rugby at National level for Kashmir and has featured in eight nationals and being part of 2016 gold winning team ,while talking to The Kashmir News Bureau states -" Sports are important for every youth and in a place like Kashmir with harsh winter and painful scenarios often, thus sports have bigger role to play. I have played rugby for Kashmir and have been playing and our team has performed brilliant in every tournament .If provided proper infrastructure and opportunities the rugby talent here has potential to thrive on world stage. Government should provide the platforms and opportunities to let us the young sportsperson Excel as we are not given preference in jobs and other things.”
On the other hand, the Army’s High Altitude warfare school at Gulmarg is playing a great part in developing a culture of winter sports such as Skiing, Biathlon etc among the youth in Kashmir. While talking to the Kashmir News Bureau, Major General Atul Kaushik, Commandant High altitude Warfare School at Gulmarg states – “The youth are with enthusiasm now participating in winter games and we urge more youth to come here and we are ready to train them in exciting winter sports as the talent of Kashmir is awesome. In games like Biathlon we are training our army men so that they shine in upcoming Olympics. Boys and Girls from Kashmir are performing well enough in all winter sporting realms and Gulmarg offers them world class faculties to avail.” Overall, sports are definitely offering a ray of hope in pain hit Kashmir.