By Farooq Ganderbali
New Delhi, June 23: Sports has become a potent weapon to drive youth away from terror, drugs and depression in Jammu and Kashmir.
A concerted effort by the Manoj Sinha administration is drawing more and more youth in sports activities in Jammu and Kashmir. As a result, young people from the Union Territory are starring in at national and international sporting events.
Unsurprisingly, trainees of J&K Sports Council's Gymnastics Academy are all set to represent the Indian gymnastics contingent in the senior and junior Asian Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship in Pattaya, Thailand, from June 23- 26.
The gymnasts of J&K include Bavleen Kaur and juniors Muskan Rana, Manya, Vaibhavi Sharma, Jagriti Thakur, Himani Gupta, and Shivangi.
The junior gymnasts left Wednesday evening for the venue while Bavlin who was in Baku, Azerbaijan, is joining the Indian team in Thailand on Thursday.
Mittali, a junior coach of J&K Sports Council and the most decorated gymnast of J&K during the last two decades, has been named as the coach of the Junior Indian Team.
The participation of the Indian rhythmic gymnastics contingent has been cleared on cost to the Sports Authority of India, Government of India.
The J&K gymnasts were selected during a series of selection trials held on June 2-3 in Jammu under the overall supervision of Kiran Wattal, Vice President of Gymnastics Federation of India along with GFI selection committee members comprising of Arjuna Awardee, Kalpana Debnath, Varsha Upadhye, and Chairperson of GFI RG Technical Committee and Arjuna Awardee, Krupali Patel Singh.
The Indian contingent to participate in the senior championship comprises of Bavleen Kaur from J&K competing in the individual event along with Sanyukta Kale, Ananya Soman from Maharashtra whereas Vaibhavi Bapat, Janhavi, Sanya, Soumya, Mihika, and Shrushti Patel from Maharashtra will compete in a group event in the senior category.
The junior gymnasts include Muskan Rana of J&K who is participating in the individual category besides Upasha from Assam, Kimaya, and Parina from Maharashtra. The gymnasts scheduled to compete in group events include Muskan Rana, Manya, Himani Gupta, Vaibhavi Sharma, Shivangi, and Jagriti Thakur.
Congratulating the J&K Sports Council gymnastics academy team, Secretary Sports Council Nuzhat Gull said, 'I am sure our team will come up with flying colours, especially J&K girls will prove their mettle in the championship as they are second to none'.
She also appreciated the role of coaches and other support staff of J&K Sports Council Gymnastics Academy in training gymnasts and honing their skills to match the standards of their counterparts from other parts of the world.
Apart from the Sinha administration, Voice for Peace and Justice, a local non-governmental organisation, is working in parallel for uplifting the sports culture in the region. The organization is currently hosting the 4th edition of Kashmir mega football tournament which has more than 40 teams from across Kashmir.
The Voice for Peace and Justice is scheduled to organize the national wrestling championship in which players from 26 states will participate.
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( 517 Words)