A month after inaugurating 'Water Sports Academy' at Nehru Park in the world-famous Dal Lak at Srinagar, Union Sports Ministry on Saturday included Kayaking and Canoeing-the two water sports disciplines at the Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) in Kashmir.
With the induction of these two disciplines, experts of water sports are optimistic that players from J&K, after getting coaching from KISCE, will bring Olympic medals for India one day.
After the launching of 'Water Sports Academy' in Kashmir on April 10 this year, the J&K Sports Council and UT Government had initiated the request for induction of these two sport disciplines. This move will strengthen the already commendable performance of players of these two water sports.
Olympic podium is the only target of J&K players
Former coach of Indian Kayaking and Canoeing teams Bilquis Mir termed this decision as historical to explore the talent of J&K's players. "We have already produced six international players from Kashmir Valley, who have represented India in different events at the international level," Mir told The International Business Times.
Mir is optimistic that very soon players from J&K will bring Olympic medals for India in water sports. "I remained the coach of the Indian team for nearly 10 years. I am of the strong opinion players of J&K have great talent as compared to other parts of the country", she said.
Impressive performance by J&K players at international events
Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju said that the performance of athletes from J&K in Kayaking and Canoeing has been impressive in international competitions such as the World Championships and the Asian Championship. It has been decided to equip the KISCE in Srinagar with training facilities for the two disciplines so that more sporting talent from the J&K will get the opportunity to excel in the sport and represent India in world-class competition.
Players across India to get coaching in Kashmir
Lieutenant Governor of J&K, Manoj Sinha said, "We want to ensure maximum utilization of the KISCE in Srinagar so that more athletes can be trained here. The addition of these two sporting disciplines will enable greater participation and also draw sporting talent from other states to train here. I am happy that the Sports Ministry and the state Government have worked together to make this possible."
The Sports Authority of India and the Sports Council of J&K will assess the requirements to implement training in the two disciplines, including coaching and equipment support to be added.