If the year 2012 belonged to football, year 2013 to resurgence of cricket and the year 2014 for the flood devastation that affected the sports infrastructure, year 2015 would be known for the cricket uncertainty and revival of the trekking and mountaineering sport in Kashmir. It was also the year that gave star international cycling star Muhammad Akber Khan and skiing star Arif Khan respectively.
At the Government end, apart from hollow promises tall claims nothing changed at grass root level with all the sports fields, stadiums remaining in dilapidated conditions.
Dr Farooq loses JKCA crown
After ruling the JK cricket for more than two decades veteran National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah lost his chair as JKCA President post to Moulvi Imran Reza Ansari through a major coup backed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led state government. JKCA rebel group backed by Government elected Imran Ansari as its president thus overthrowing veteran NC leader.
Though legitimacy of JKCA President and of real office bearers is hanging on court decision but Imran Anrasi led group rules the roost as Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has recognized their teams in national cricket events and releasing money in their favor.
JK cricket loses sheen
JK cricket in 2015 went back into dark days of past with it’s all the teams performing miserably in national events. Ranji trophy squad ended their campaign winless while as in Vijay Hazare One-Day trophy team suffered 6-0 loss. Apart from senior team overall performance of all the sides that represented JKCA in the national events was below par.
After coming into power through a coup JKCA instead of setting the house in order indulged in politics and dropped very good performers from the side. The new JKCA dropped the players who play for the rival cubs and allegedly resorted to favoritism. At the end of one day trophy campaign there was scuffle in the team dressing room with a player allegedly thrashing team manager.
Cycling Star Akber Khan
The year 2015 produced the first state born International cyclist. Having been at the top of the state cycling for past six years, Muhammad Akber Khan finally managed to win gold medal in national event. For that he was inducted into national coaching camp and then he was selected for Cycling Asia Cup. He became first ever cyclist from state to represent state in international cycling event.
Skier Arif Khan
Despite not getting any help from Government or the governing body of sports, skier Arif Khan continued to shine for JK at International level. He became the first skier from JK to take part and qualify for main round in FIS skiing event held at USA. Apart from that he represented country in various other international level events as well.
Trekking boom, Mountaineering Revival
The year 2015 brought adventure sport like trekking and mountaineering back in limelight like it used to be in 1980’s and can be termed as the year of revival for the sport. The revival can be largely credited to J&K Mountaineering and Hiking Club (JKMHC). During the year, local mountaineers reached atop highest peak in Kashmir, Kolhai after decades of hiatus. Following that another group led by Indian Mountaineering Foundation made another successful summit of the peak. During the same year, local climbers yet another successful summit of Harmukh peak. It was after more than 25 years that any group made a successful attempt to climb thepeak.
Apart from that year 2015 can be termed as year in which youngsters were seen going on trekking trips in abundance. There was craze of trekking to high altitude places among the youngsters.
Like past many years he was the only shining star of the JK cricket again during the year 2015. Not fazed by the controversy Parvez Rasool continued to march ahead in national cricket arena. He played in Indian Premier League again and also went on to become top scorer for JK in Ranji Ranji this season.
The star footballer did what he has been doing for almost more than 14 years now. When the critics had written him off he somehow managed to spring a surprise all by giving out his best. He was reckoned as spent force and not good for the top level football at national level with his age. However, former India International rose again through some of the top performance for his side Channaiyinfc in Indian Super League. He went on to become the member of the team which clinched ISL title and was also reckoned as top defender of the league. He was also in contention for the player of the league in which he missed out. After his path breaking performance in ISL there were calls for his inclusion in Indian team.
I-league comes to Kashmir
The year 2015 will go into history books as the year in which top level football league of Country; I-League second division came to Valley. Kashmir FC which is first ever I-League level club of State played its home matches in Srinagar against the I-League sides. The matches were played on synthetic turf field at TRC Ground, and response of crowd was amazing. Despite freezing temperatures the stadium was full house for all the matches and spectators supported Kashmir FC with full heart. The Kashmir FC is now going to play two more home matches in Kashmir in middle of January next year.
Tour de Kashmir
For the cycling and the cyclist, Tour de Kashmir cycling event, the only kind of its stage level cycling extravaganza of country turned out as another success story.
The 6-stage event saw top cyclists of the country joined by local riders battling out for ultimate glory for six continuous days in which they pedaled 350 kilometers. The Haryana lad Saurabh bagged the overall title while state got a new cycling star Waheed who bagged second place.
Martial artists continue get medals
Martial art is the sport in which players bag most number of medals for the State at national level. Leaving out those low profile martial events in which players get medals in bundles, State players still shined in some of the top level competitions of Wu-Shu, Thang-Ta, Sqay, Taekwon-Do and Judo.
Sports Council, DYSS fail to impress
Apart from hollow promises and tall claims both the Government offices failed to impress on the ground. DYSS was seen more concerned about spending money on functions during events instead of player’s welfare and sending teams for national events. While for national participation department lacked money, it spent lakhs in inaugural and closing ceremonies.
In contrary, like previous years there were huge announcements by Government about grant of money for sports infrastructure development of state by central Government. But on the ground situation has remained same it used to be 10 years back. Sports Council remained more focused on construction of pavilions than the field turf conditions. The coaches instead of imparting training are doing managerial job thus putting big question mark on the policy of the sports ministry and council.
Leaving out the some individual moment of brilliance and the wonderful moments of joy provided by Kashmir FC at the fag end of the year, the overall sports scenario during the year has been below average. The Government once again lacked the clear cut policy to uplift the ailing sports infrastructure of the State. JK may be the only state where top sports stars have to beg for the job or being honored. JKCA needs t be handled by the persons who have no self interests of club politics in order bring Association back in order. JKCA also needs to get Parvez Rasool into loop while devising any policy. For the football need to is to look into grass root level development rather go and focus on senior players. The services of Mehrajuddin Wadoo and Ishfaq Ahmad should be employed to groom the future generation. Athletics, cycling, boxing, Judo, and other top level sports need total overhaul in order to get them back in limelight.