J&K’s Sporting Culture Transformed Under PM’s Leadership
Gulmarg, February 10: The highly-anticipated third edition of the Khelo India National Winter Games has officially kicked off in the breath-taking ski resort of Gulmarg. With over 1,500 athletes from various parts of India set to participate and compete in an array of 11 winter sports disciplines, the grand sports event was declared open in the presence of esteemed guests such as the Lieutenant Governor of J&K, Manoj Sinha and the Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports and I&B, Anurag Thakur.
As the largest winter sports tournament in the country, the competition is expected to draw athletes from all over India to showcase their skills and endurance in a variety of winter sports disciplines. The Union Sports Minister, Anurag Thakur, praised the J&K Government for their efforts in developing sports facilities and infrastructure at the grassroot level, resulting in significant progress in the sports sector in just a short span of time.
Thakur noted that what Jammu and Kashmir has achieved in the world of sports in just three years is a matter of great pride, with indoor stadiums being built in every district and every village now having a playground. He added that where there once were incidents of stone pelting, today football, wushu and other sports are played, and this is the picture of the new Jammu Kashmir. The Union Minister assured full support and cooperation in establishing a National Centre of Excellence for Winter Games in the UT.
The vision of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is to create sporting infrastructure across India, and the establishment of a National Centre of Excellence in the valley will support the athletes of J&K, Thakur said. In his address, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha stated that the message and blessings of the Prime Minister to the players participating in the 3rd Khelo India National Winter Games will encourage and inspire them.
The Khelo India Winter Games is a celebration of sporting excellence and an opportunity for athletes to strive for victory and showcase the spirit of sportsmanship, peace, equality, friendship, and respect for their competitors. The spirit of unity, Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat, will make the country stronger, the Lt Governor said. The entire nation is currently united by the dream of the 3rd Winter Games, and he added that each player participating will become the best ambassador of J&K.
On behalf of the people of J&K, the Lt Governor welcomed the players, officials, and sports enthusiasts, inviting all guests from every corner of the country to enjoy J&K’s hospitality, the games, and the incredible sights and sounds of Jammu Kashmir. The Lt Governor highlighted the transformation in J&K’s sporting culture under the Prime Minister’s leadership and the UT Government’s continuous efforts in developing world-class sports infrastructure and facilities in every nook and corner of the UT.
The welfare of sportspersons is a priority, and special efforts are being made to ensure a dignified life for them and to encourage youth to choose sports as a career. The participation of over 50 lakh youth in various sporting events last year is a testament to this commitment, the Lt Governor said. With the help of the Union Sports Ministry, efforts are being made to establish a Center of Excellence for Winter Games, and the location has already been identified.
On the occasion, the Lt Governor and Union Sports Minister jointly launched 40 Khelo India Centers across Jammu Kashmir, dedicated to all the budding sportspersons of J&K UT.