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National Championship concludes in Srinagar

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Athletes praise hospitality and arrangements

SRINAGAR: J&K Sports Council has hosted many national and international events in the past and participating athletes have often praised the arrangements and beauty of the scenic Kashmir.

Similar observations were recorded by the participants of the 45th Arm Wrestling Championship which concluded in Sher-i-Kashmir Indoor Stadium, Srinagar today.

More than 600 players from many states, union territories, and sports boards were participating in the championship and while speaking to the desk, athletes were all praises for the hosts and general public.

Soumya C.S and Diviya Natous, who have bagged bronze and silver medals are natives of Kerala. They expressed happiness and enthusiasm for participating in the championship, more so because the event was held here and they had to travel all the way from the peninsular part of the country to mountainous Kashmir.

Recalling a heartwarming incident that occurred on the first day of their arrival, Soumya said that she along with her roommate went out to buy some flavoured tea which was not available at the immediate shop they had stepped into. The owner of the shop instead arranged it for them. She said this was unlike a gesture experienced anywhere else, adding that the shop owner toiled to deliver the tea to us late in the evening without charging us anything extra.

Mohini Jhangra, a Police Constable with Haryana Police has also visited J&K for the first time. She has won a gold medal in the 80 Kg senior women’s category and without beating around the bush she says that people are really welcoming and we received a warm welcome and superb hospitality from everyone here. “During the championship, everyone encouraged players to do well. Since it was my first visit, I wanted to go around and enjoy the ambiance of the city so that I can tell people in my native village more about Kashmir,” she said.

Another arm wrestler Pinki Jangra who also represented Haryana bagged a gold medal in the senior women’s category. A pro-wrestler in WWF, Pinki said that this was her maiden visit to Kashmir and she found the place more beautiful than what she had heard earlier. Referring to Kashmir as the dream destination, Pinki said, “I wish WWF events are also held in J&K someday and I would love to land in Kashmir sooner than later again.”

A group of teenage arm wrestlers comprising Shivani Meena, Sapna Doot, Ruchi Foujdar, Sakshi Doot, and Komal who have earned bronze and silver medals in the championship said that they are satisfied with all the arrangements made at the venue and that they are carrying truck loads of great memories from the Kashmir.

They all equivocally heaped praises, especially for the hospitality of the people who were not even remotely connected to the game and had just dropped at the venue as spectators. They said, “People are very cooperative here and we felt safe even during the walk late at night along the river bank, referring to the renovated Jhelum Riverfront.

They wished to go out and see some popular historical sites in Srinagar but for the little time at hand. Nonetheless, the jolly teenagers promised to return and this time around purely as tourists along with their families to explore more of Kashmir.

The youngest arm wrestler of the championship Muhammad Areeb Bhat, a class 3rd student of Tyndale Biscoe School while flaunting his gold medal said that he is related to occupy the top spot on the medal podium. Areeb won the gold medal in the junior category and dedicated the medal to his father who incidentally is his coach and a great support. Areeb who wishes to earn a name in martial arts said that apart from studies I am seriously contemplating pursuing a career in sports.

The Secretary of Youth Services and Sports, Sarmad Hafeez said, “The visiting players are our ambassadors, once they reach their native places.”

“I am glad that they acknowledge what they experience and as good hosts, we will always try to get even better,” Sarmad Hafeez added.

While reacting to the observations made by the participating athletes, Secretary J&K Sports Council said that it is heartening to know that the visiting players felt comfortable enough to record their observations, and as hosts we will always try to improve both in terms of hospitality and facilities and the day is not far away when J&K shall be the first choice for all the major sports events in the country.

J&K Sports Council had set up “help desks” to aid players during the championship.

Meanwhile, the regular classwork of Sports Council Academies, Khelo India Centres, and other coaching endeavors went ahead as usual besides many special activities including My Youth My Pride activities across the J&K.

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