Amidst lack of infrastructure, J&K gymnasts win 11 medals at All India Inter-University Championship

Sai Datta M

February 10th, 2017

Image Source: J&K State Sports Council

Although the sporting infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir is not at par with other states, the athletes are all bagging honors in various competitions. Recently, two gymnasts from J&K performed brilliantly at the All India Inter-University Championship held in Chandigarh. The girls bagged a total of 11 medals which included 6 golds and 5 silvers.

26-year-old Mitali from Jammu, who also represented the country at the Glasgow Games, has her own ambitions of making it big for the country. “My family supported me a lot to achieve this. I have a dream to play in the Olympic and win a medal there”, she said after her success.

Palak Kaur, who participated in rhythmic gymnastics, has her own share of problems. She had to overcome several obstacles to be in this position. At the age of six, she understood gymnastics is her cup of tea. “Gymnastics is my passion and I would devote my entire time towards it”, said Palak.

It is unfortunate that the state does not have a proper infrastructure or administration to support the budding sporting heroes. Surprisingly there is not a single gymnastic arena and they are forced to practice on volleyball or kabaddi playing areas. 

The political disturbance in the state also affected the sports administration. “As you are aware, Jammu and Kashmir is a disturbed state, this sometimes affects our training and schedule, we lack facilities from the state govt side as well”, said coach Karupalli.

Rajiv Mahajan, the state’s Shri Ram Sena’s president alleged that due to the sheer negligence of the state’s government, their athletes are being left out. “Thanks to the alleged lethargic attitude of the government, aspiring players are now paying price for it”, he said. Although there are several players representing the state at international and national arenas they are not being supported sufficiently as there is absence of infrastructure.

“The govt is allowing only those players close to them to flourish and other aspiring players are not allowed to play with proper infrastructure and financial aid. This is atrocious after spending crores of rupees of public money for the benefit of children, govt is acting as a mute spectator over the felicitation of the state’s gymnasts”.

“Currrently state players fight the system; Infrastructure; apathy; society; finance; opportunity; and only if they are standing after that they can fight their opponent”. Although the 2 athletes hail from J&K, they did not any university from their home state. They’ve taken part in the tournament for Panjab University.

The All India Inter-University tournament saw emerging athletes across all formats with huge number of talented players.  The tournament has two categories namely – Artistic Gymnastics & Rhythmic Gymnastics. Panjab University won the overall title dominating all formats.

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