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Ladakh

Expert Talk

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Importance of Sports
By Kunzang Chosdol, Wednesday, June 14, 2017

LEH:
Harjinder Singh, General Secretary, Ice Hockey Association of India: Though there are many sports but I will talk more specifically about Ice Hockey as I am related to it. Youth in Ladakh like rest of India has been a keen follower of cricket and football because of the TV.  Ice Hockey, a winter sport has been played in the region and with the availability of natural ice, the majority of the youth have taken up the sport. In spite of limited winter time and the high cost of equipment, playing this sport is a passion for many. 
Infrastructure and aligned facilities are key for the development of any sport. You can't be a swimmer without the water!! Similarly, with no ice all round the year, the progress and development of the Sport become a deterrent. To reach to the next level, one has to practice and play the sport all the year round. This year in 2017, the women's team and the men's team trained in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and Indian Women won their first 2 International matches after debuting only in 2016 whereas men's team secured 2nd Position in the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia (Div-1). They won because of the team practiced at International Rink. This achievement just makes you wonder, what if they get to play and practice all round the year and what would the result be.

Lack of infrastructure, coaches and equipment impedes the development in the region.  Ice Hockey being a winter Olympics sport has not been able to get the due recognition neither by the State Government nor the Central Government. Sport being a State subject, the onus of development lies with the State Government and not with the Central Government. 

If I talk about the facilities for the players, as this sport is popular only in this state, it is essential that the State Government other than providing infrastructure also provides Job security to the players and the coaches.  Job reservation, promotions, privileges like paid leave and not but the least R&R (rewards and recognition) is essential for securing the future of the player and the Sport.
Central Government has its rules and processes. Amongst them is that Ice Hockey Association of India is still considered as National Sports Promotion Organisation. To become a national Sports Federation, there should be an affiliation of at least 75% of Indian states with the Association. 

Sport being a State subject, the onus of the development of the Sport lies with the State. The various stakeholders in the state, who first need to come together and present their case to the state government. With the recent success of the team in the International competition, am sure the State Government will take note and ensure completion of the unfinished rink in the state to start with.

99% of the Indian Ice Hockey team comprises of players from Ladakh. Exposure to International Competition and visiting experts in the winters enhances the knowledge of the Sport amongst the players. The players see an immediate challenge for themselves when they play alongside the visiting foreigners and makes them determined to improve their skill set and excel. The player passion for the sport and represent the country is a key driver for the growth of this Sport in the Ladakh region. Playing at high altitude becomes an advantage for the players when they represent India in International Championship.

Solutions:

Multiple clubs and 2 State Associations in the State: 

There has to be a singular body representing the various clubs and regions in the state. State Government can't be speaking to various stakeholders. The State Association should be focusing on getting Infrastructure sanctioned and completed.
Use the existing National Players for induction and coaching of boys/ girls under 12 age bracket.

Various clubs should be able to provide equipment to the young recruits.

A local league on the International format with cash incentives. Each club should be playing at least 30 matches in a year.
Coaching camps for 15 days in various age brackets

Including parents in decision making within the clubs. Parents are the driving force in the success and growth of the child as a player.
Older and seasoned players should be encouraged to become - Coaches. Game officials and off Ice officials. The passion for the sport can't die down with age.

With limited Ice Time available- equal time to be given for Development /Coaching and local tournaments.

Abdul Aziz , National level Karate Player: In Ladakh, parents are more focused on academic as compared to other co-curricular activities. Sports are not taken seriously and even our stakeholders don’t take it as a part of education. Along with academics it is also one of an important thing to stay physically and mentally sound. The player of Ladakh being grown up at high altitude area has a good stamina as compared to the players of the rest of the country, even the international players couldn’t cope with our player. Scope is there but lack of infrastructure and facilities for the player is a big drawback which is creating a barrier for a calibre youths to excel in the field.

We have a possibility to organise national level tournament in Ladakh because Ladakh being located at a high altitude area the tournament become very valuable and successful for the players. Each and every sport should be introduced and promoted among the students because in coming days we can have our own coaches and players of international level.

Everyone has some skills and talent in different sports and excelling in it will prove his/her success in life. If we talk about help and support towards the sports and sport person I feel there is very less interest shown by the government at all levels. As a player, I have struggled with many problems due to lack of funds and facilities from Govt. despite I represented Leh at national level but I didn’t have any help and support from LAHDC or from District administration. 

In the year 2016, I have represented Leh district and won bronze medal, then after I played national in Haryana and won Silver medal.  Last time I was selected for the tournament which was held at Los Vegas but due to lack of funds I couldn’t join it and recently I have received a selection letter for Commonwealth games but due to financial constraint I am facing difficulty in participating the game. I don’t belong from a very financially sound family thus seeking help to participate and play but got no response from anyone. It was just after many ups and down and struggle I have received only ₹ 3000 as a financial aid which is very less.

Till today I have been participating and struggling with my own capabilities and help and support of my own family. Many request and letter have been submitted to the council and administration but all in vain. The passion to do something and win for Ladakh is becoming hopeless because of the lack of support and discouragement. I even got a response that you came and played from some different association but I have represented Leh.

I was the only person from Leh who played Karate in National level but there are very few people who appreciate and encourage me. 
In any of the game when a player represent at national or international level encouragement is one of an important thing so that they will further do well. There are always a fake hopes and promises from everyone and I am tired and feel ashamed to go again and again seeking for help and support.

Cooperation and support to excel our youths in different ends by providing facilities and services should be initiated by the Govt. and leaders at all levels.

Solution:
•    There is a need of sport council which can help to push the players into their dream and develop the facilities for them.
•    Parents and concern stakeholder should encourage the players to excel in it and take the importance of sport very seriously along with academics.
•    Funds should be allocated for overall development of all sports.
•    Infrastructure development is one of the basic important requirements for every player.
•    Lack of coaches left the players clueless about the sports.


 
                   
 
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