Blessed with a number of water bodies, the J&K is fast emerging as an international centre for waters sports as the Union Government has provided all possible help to explore the potential of this region.
The inauguration of "Water Sports Academy" at Nehru Park in world-famous Dal Lake on Saturday is another step towards further strengthening water sports infrastructure in J&K.
For the first time in history, training of Indian water sports teams, which are going to represent the country in the next Olympic Games, was held in the world-famous Dal Lake of Kashmir.
"We have potential to produce world-class players due to available infrastructure", Bilquis Mir, renowned sports person and famous kayaking and canoeing coach, told the International Business Times.
"I am sure that Kashmir will produce Olympic medalists for India in water sports very soon," she said, adding, "during the last two years water sports centres in J&K are equipped with world-class equipment".
Mir informed that the first time a month-long training for water sports teams of India was held in Dal Lake from March 1 to March 31 because sports centres of J&K are equipped with world-class equipment.
Boosting J&K's water sports facilities
On Saturday, the Lieutenant Governor of J&K announced that the government is working to set up a water sports academy in the Union Territory to provide an opportunity to the local youth to display their talent and utilize the potential of all available water bodies in this region.
While inaugurating a water sports festival at Dal Lake along with Union Minister of State for Sports, Kiren Rijiju, Lieutenant Governor of J&K, Manoj Sinha said that J&K is full of talent and the government was working set-up a water sports academy.
Dedicating the Water Sports Centre of Excellence to the public, the Lt Governor observed that the new facility will add another feather to the already existing infrastructure of water sports. The aim of 'Khelo India' is to convert the basic structure of sports centres into a state-of-the-art sports facility with modern equipment, top-class coaches so that in the next 10 years, India would reach top ranks in Olympics, he added.
The Lt Governor said that the second Water Sports Centre is coming up at Ranjit Sagar Dam in Kathua to promote water sports in the Jammu division, and hoped that it would also be adopted as the Khelo India Centre of Excellence.
"J&K is the best in the country in terms of modern water sports equipment. Last year, we launched International Standard Water Sports Equipment which will enable the athletes from the region to improve their performance and shows great results in the national and international competitions," added the Lt Governor.
Lt Governor hails canoeing coach Bilquis Mir, cyclist Adil Teli
Open water is a highway to adventure, best travelled by a Kayak. Many of our young sportspersons of Canoeing and Kayaking have proven their mettle at international platforms. Renowned sports person and famous kayaking and canoeing coach Bilquis Mir is a source of inspiration for young sportspersons. She has made the nation proud at many national and international events.
With the coming up of Centres of Excellence, more such examples would come up, said the Lt Governor. He also mentioned Cyclist Adil Teli, who recently made a world record in cycling from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Adil's passion has brought him to that position today and he has become an inspiration for youngsters all over the world. The region is bestowed with a number of water bodies that can be effectively used to facilitate water sports. A number of steps have already been taken in this regard.
J&K has huge potential in watersports and the government is aiming to promote water sports by developing watersports infrastructure like the newly inaugurated Water Sports Centre to facilitate the associated sports persons.
As part of its efforts to encourage water sports in J&K, the first-ever white water rafting festival was by Bhaderwah Development Authority and JK Adventure Group in the month of March in the river Chenab at Premnagar in Doda to promote adventure tourism in the district. The festival continued for two days, witnessed huge participation of adventure sports lovers and the local public. A large number of people, especially youth, attended the festival and participated in the rafting trip from Premnagar to Karara in the mighty river Chenab.