Water sports facilities at the Water Sports Centre at Nehru Park in Jammu and Kashmir's Dal Lake have seen a massive upgrade in the last two years thanks to the Union Territory's administration, giving local sportspersons access to world-class equipment and infrastructure. With ample natural water resources like the Nigeen Lake, Dal Lake, and many others, the scope for professional water sports and adventure sports in the region is limitless. However, lack of infrastructure and proper maintenance has deterred many from unleashing their full potential.
Some of the new upgrades include changing rooms, new international-grade boats, jetties, and a boat shed. "Our region has a lot of water resources, both flat water and wild water. Several young people here have so much interest and potential and I am very glad that the facilities have been improved for budding sportspersons. The new facilities the government has provided are bringing us closer and closer to being an international-level center," Bilquis Mir, international player and coach at the center, told ANI.
She added that youth was greatly encouraged with the support that was being given by the government. "Players are ecstatic and feel very encouraged because the government is giving massive support to our water sportspersons. When I was just starting my career several years ago, we used to crave for these resources. I am very glad that the younger generation will now have all this equipment at their disposal. In the next few years, I hope to see international-level players from Jammu and Kashmir," Mir added.
Nasir Ahmad, a player, said that they were earlier compelled to use poor quality local wooden boats and paddles. "I am very grateful that the government has put in a lot of effort. We now have a boat shed, proper sitting area, and changing room. We used to have local wooden boats and paddles earlier. Now, every equipment we have is of international grade and many people are now interested. I believe that this water sports center becomes one of the best in India," Ahmad said.
"Gone are the days when we used to just play with whatever we could find lying around. We are glad that the government has given us world-class equipment. This is important because this is the most basic thing when learning a sport. How will a player get better without the right equipment to practice with? We can now reach new heights in this field," said Yasmeena Jan, a watersport enthusiast. (ANI)