Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], November 27 (ANI): Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday inaugurated the J-K Gymnastics Academy at the Maulana Azad Stadium in Jammu.
The hall in the stadium has been re-constructed and equipped with modern facilities and was turned into an academy for gymnastics.
National Level 56th Artistic and 25th Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships were held in this stadium. The six-day affair concluded on Friday. 25 teams from various States and Union Territories of the country participated in the event.
While inaugurating the academy, Sinha said, "This gymnastics academy will identify talents, hone their abilities and provide them with all support to bring laurels at national and international level. A lot of work is going on in enhancing the sports infrastructure of the union territory. Sports and Education are the prime targets of the J-K government."
Describing efforts of the Centre and J-K government's efforts at improving sports infrastructure in the state, he said, "Our annual sports budget for this year is Rs 513 crores. We are working at ground level to revive sports culture here. This year we aim to provide sporting opportunities to 17 lakh youngsters. 85 per cent of Panchayats have been provided with sports fields. Our sports policy will also be unveiled within a month. We are in process of notifying rules to provide better job opportunities to the players. Under the Prime Minister Development scheme (PMDP), more than Rs 200 crore rupees have been provided. In modernising the sports infrastructure of the union territory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a huge role. Under PMDP, 25 projects out of 31 have been done. The up-gradation and renovation of sports facilities here are going on well. I am sure that Jammu and Kashmir will emerge as a powerhouse in sports in future."
Highlighting the efforts of the J-K Sports Council, Sinha said that over two lakh sporting activities took place in the union territory which was organised by the council. He thanked the officials for their work in order to take sporting activities to all sections of society.
Participants were appreciative of the fact that nationals were organised in J-K for the first time. They also appreciated the infrastructure put in place by the administration for practice, accommodation, food etc.
A participant named Muskaan said to ANI, "Our experience was really good because the nationals have happened for the first time here. A lot of children came from outside and competition was tough."
Another participant named Himani said, "There were 43 students. Earlier we were scared of the competition but we later gained confidence. We are happy that nationals were organised here and LG also came here. Earlier we did not have many facilities but now we have. This will improve our game."
"The gym hall is nice, it felt really good practising here and participating in the competition. Hostels for stay, food and rooms were also nice. I feel motivated after all this. Such events must happen more often," added another participant named Aryan.
The Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor said to ANI that there is a lot of talent in gymnastics in the union territory and J-K has a medal tally bigger than a lot of bigger states in the National Junior competition in Khelo India.
"Seeing their capability and performances, the Sports Council took the decision to convert this hall in the stadium into an academy. The equipment here is state-of-art and has come from abroad," he added.
Kiran Watal, the President of J-K Gymnastics Association told ANI, "Such an event happened for the first time in the union territory. Everyone, be it the players, coaches, managers or judges are extremely happy with the facilities. This academy has floors for both Artistic and Rhythmic gymnastics, which is available nowhere else in India. We are bidding for hosting rights for a gymnastics event of South East Asia too." (ANI)