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Jammu and Kashmir abuzz with sports activities under ‘My Youth My Pride’ initiative

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Maharashtra men beat Delhi to win 65+ title in 28th Masters Table Tennis C’ship

SRINAGAR: A day after the inauguration of the 28th Masters Table Tennis Championship, sports activities under the banner of the ‘My Youth My Pride’ programme being organized by J&K Sports Council continue to pull crowds across the nook and corner of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir at different venues where competitions for various sports disciplines are being held.

In what is turning out to be one of the mega sports events being held in the history of J&K, the 28th Masters Table Tennis Championship which began in Sheri-Kashmir Indoor Stadium yesterday where more than 1200 participants including players above 80 years of age which includes some prominent faces of the game of yore from the country are giving run for money to their rivals.

Around 120 matches consisting of both individual and team events were played during the day today. The event is being organized by J&K Sports Council in association with J&K Table Tennis Association.

Secretary, J&K Sports Council Nuzhat Gul visited the venue to take stock of the arrangements put in place for the guest teams.

While interacting with participants, Secretary Sports Council said that it is heartening to see the former champions in the middle trying to get the best out of each other by making swift moves across the table and each participant is giving its best shot which shall not only inspire the younger lot, in fact, shall add to their motivation and energy level.

She said that Sports Council has adopted the policy of “inclusive sports” which aims to reach all athletes irrespective of their age, sex or whichever place they come from. “I am sure, the special initiative of My Youth and My Pride shall fetch encouraging results in the times to come,” she added.

While reacting to the comments of the Secretary Sports Council, all participants were in awe of the venue and appreciated the facilities put in place and praised the hospitality of J&K Sports Council.

Earlier in the day, Maharashtra defeated Delhi 3-0 in the final of the men’s 65+ age category to lift the trophy. Complimenting men was the state’s women’s team of 60+ and 65+ that claimed the gold medal beating another squad from the state 3-0.

In the men’s contest, Delhi did not have an answer to the clinical performance of Maharashtra’s A team consisting of Prakash Kelkar, Percy Mehta and Jayanti Kulkarni. Kelkar began the proceedings with a perfect 3-0 (11-3, 11-9, 11-8) triumph over Narendra Singh Rawat of Delhi. Though Rawat was all at sea in the first game, he steadied himself to fight well in the next two games, especially in the second when Kelkar won it with minimal points. In the second, too, Rawat closed in on his rival but Kelkar proved too good for the Delhi paddler.

Percy Mehta downed Ashutosh Kumar 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 with the latter losing steam after running Mehta close in the first two games. With a comfortable lead, the third game was a formality for the Maharashtra player.

In the third rubber of the tie, Jayant Kulkarni beat his Delhi opponent, Sunil Kumar Chawla, winning it 11-2, 11-7, 114, putting the trophy beyond Delhi’s grip but the team still ended up on the podium, grabbing the silver medal.

Picking from where they left off yesterday evening, the C squad of Maharashtra’s 60+ and 65+ Women’s team picked up the gold medal after outplaying their A team, also the top seed. In what turned out to be a final between the three women versus two women combination, the latter proved a tough nut to crack as they made it a one-sided affair.

Their A team pitted Ujwala Marathe against Ranjana Patki in the opening rubber. After Marathe won the second game, it must have given a glimmer of hope to the bench. But Ranjana Patki did not give any further chance to wrap it up 11-3, 4-11, 11-5, 11-5. Swati Agarkar played brilliantly to challenge the bragging rights of Mangal Saraf, but the former’s resistance did not help her restore parity, including in the third game tie-break. In the end, Saraf won 11-8, 11-8, 12-10 to give a 2-0 cushion to their side.

Deepa Jain and Nutan failed to combine well against the experienced pair of Saraf and Patki and lost 3-11, 3-11, 9-11.

In other districts including Kupwara, Reasi, Baramulla, Pulwama and Bandipora various sports activities in the disciplines of Judo, Gymnastics, hockey, Yoga, Football, and Badminton, Wushu, Boxing, and Rugby hundreds of players exhibited their skills in the individual and team events.

A night Football match turned out to be a mega crowd puller as 5000 spectators witnessed the fine display of the game in Khushal Stadium Sopore in North Kashmir. G. N Itoo Director Tourism Kashmir was also among the audience and enjoyed the game till the last kick.

The activities of the programme are being supervised by Managers, Coaches and Mentors of J&K Sports Council. The events are part of the special sports initiative MY Youth My Pride being organized by the J&K Sports Council in collaboration with different registered associations of respective games.

Divulging on the details of the programme, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Joint Secretary J&K Sports Council said, the Sports Council is investing time and resources so that our youth are provided with all the facilities that are being provided to their counterparts elsewhere in the country. He impressed upon all the coordinators to bring more and more players under the umbrella of the programme.

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