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Rijiju, Lt Guv inaugurate Khelo India State Centre for rowing

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Srinagar: Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday inaugurated the Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) for rowing at the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council Water Sports Academy here.
At present, the KISCE will focus on rowing and will be provided a first-time grant of Rs 145.16 lakh and an annual recurring grant of Rs 96.17 lakh.
This is one of the two KISCEs from Jammu and Kashmir, with the Maulana Azad Stadium for fencing in Jammu being the other. A consolidated amount of Rs. 5.08 crore has been approved for the two centres.
Rijiju had earlier announced that the Sports Ministry would open a state-of-the-art water sports facility here. All procedures are now in place and the money has been allocated.
“It’s a pleasure to come at the Dal Lake to change the lives of the young sportspersons here. There is a lot of potential and we from the Sports Ministry and J&K Council are doing our best to help the youngsters here,” Rijiju said.
“Our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a lot of plans in mind for Jammu & Kashmir. This will be a great opportunity for our future champions,” the Minister added.
Rijiju also announced a host of new competitions in the Valley including a Khelo India women’s football league.
“From this year onwards, we will start a Khelo India Women’s football league here and all kinds of support will be given by the Sports Ministry. In October-November, we will organize a marathon competition as well in Pahalgam,” Rijiju added.
Currently, there are 24 KISCEs across 23 states and union territories and each of them focuses on Olympics sports.
The inauguration of the Khelo India Centre of Excellence is a moment of great happiness as the state-of-the-art centre of Excellence would give wings to the potential of many athletes. It is because of the immense potential of local athletes that the Central Government decided to develop this Water Sports Centre under Khelo India Centre of Excellence Scheme, said the Lt Governor.
Dedicating the Water Sports Centre of Excellence to 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 covert 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 Jammu division, and hoped that it would also be adopted as the Khelo India Centre of Excellence.
J&K is 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 show great results in the national and international competitions, added the Lt Governor.
Terming sports activities and their promotion as an important tool for social change, the Lt Governor called upon the sportspersons to be the ambassadors of the country and its development.
“Jammu and Kashmir sportspersons are the brand ambassadors of India’s growing strength, its soft power, and the ambassadors for development and peace. As a symbol of youth power, our players are giving the message of peace and progress. Our water sports athletes will work towards peace, progress, and social harmony with this spirit”, observed the Lt Governor.
Highlighting the measures taken by the Government for the promotion of sports in the region, the Lt Governor said that last year, despite the challenges of the Corona epidemic, a number of sports tournaments were held, following all protocols, to provide a platform for the talents in our UT.
We are aiming to provide high standard training to young boys and girls of Jammu and Kashmir in all 53 disciplines of Olympic Games this year. At least 15 lakh youth of J&K would get opportunities to participate in various sports activities, observed the Lt Governor.
Around 8500 players are estimated to participate in the upcoming Premier League in four disciplines – Football, Kabaddi, Volleyball and Hockey, he added.
Underscoring the significance of Monitoring and Mentoring in water sports, the Lt Governor remarked that “Our responsibility in water sports is not limited to just providing resources but constant monitoring, world-class training and evaluation should also be done, with research activities added to it.
Nature has endowed Jammu and Kashmir with a number of lakes and rivers and our athletes have taken full benefit of it. Our Athletes winning more than 100 medals at National level in last three years itself speaks about the kind of talent and ability they possess, he added.
Open water is a highway to adventure, best traveled by a Kayak. Many of our young sportspersons of Canoeing and Kayaking have proven their mettle at the International platforms. Renowned sportsperson and famous kayaking and canoeing coach Ms. 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.
Speaking on the budgetary provision for sports, the Lt Governor maintained that in the recent budget, an amount of Rs 513 crore has been kept for Youth Empowerment and Sports.
“We are working at many levels in the field of sports in Jammu and Kashmir. Our foremost aim is to identify the grassroots talent, then provide them with right training and environment, and select promising players in a transparent manner for national and international tournaments.”
Promotion was needed to adopt sports as a career along with curriculum at the school level. Therefore, it was decided that sports kits worth Rs 20,000 would be given to children in all 4290 panchayats. Today, I can say with great pride that J&K is better equipped with sports infrastructure and facilities than many other states and UTs, said the Lt Governor.
With a view to honing the skills of local talent, Jammu and Kashmir administration signed an MoU with former International player Suresh Raina to find young talent from small towns and villages, added the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor also underlined the important role of the corporate groups in paving a permanent arrangement for the career growth of champion sportspersons from J&K. He urged the big companies to sponsor the players in their CSR activity and support their career growth.

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