Jammu and Kashmir’s Gymnasts Outshines Others With Limited Facilities

Scroll Cafe Team

Kashmir, the paradise on earth, is one of the most unsafe states of the country with terrorist attacks every now and then. Ever since the independence of India from the Britishers, there has been a conflict between various Kashmiri separatists and nationalists, also known as "ultras" (extremists) and the Government of India. Few groups favour Kashmir accession to Pakistan, while others seek Kashmir's complete independence. Thousands of people have died in the fight between insurgents and the government as well as thousands of civilians have died as a result of being targeted by the various armed groups. Amidst so much chaos on a day to day basis, it is really difficult for a state to prosper. And, that is what has severely affected the sports infrastructure of the state among others.

In spite of so many prolems prevailing in the state and sports facilities very limited, it is really worth appreciation that two Jammu and Kashmir lady gymnasts have returned with a rich haul of 11 medals in the 2017 All India inter-university championship held in Chandigarh including 6 gold and 5 silver medals. Two girls Mitali and Palak Kaur represented the state in the games and have made both the state and their parents proud.

Mitali, a 26 year old from Jammu has always wanted to make it big but the financial constraints of the family and very limited support from the state government often brings down her morale. Yet she has worked incredibly hard to make it to the Glasgow games where she represented India in gymanstics. She said, "My family has supported me a lot to achieve this. I have a dream to play in the Olympics and win a medal there".

Palak Kaur, the rhythmic gymnast underwent hardships to attain this feat. She realised that she had the potentials to be a gymnast when she was six. Ever since then, she has worked extremely hard for the goals she had set for herself and has achieved them successfully. “Gymnastics is my passion and I devote my entire time towards it," said Palak.

Their gymnastics coach Karupali said to NDTV that, "As you are aware Jammu and Kashmir is a disturbed state, this sometimes affects our training and schedule, we lack facilities from the government side as well". Unfortunately, there is not a single gymnastic arena in the entire state, hence the gymnasts are forced to practice in volleyball and kabaddi courts.

The girls have worked against all odds to achieve this respect and honour. They are a true source of inspiration to the future Indian gymnasts and also to all the girls who think that sports is a man’s cup of tea. Coming from a state like Jammu and Kashmir which is grappling with the grave issues of unrest and insecurity on a daily basis, the two girls have establsihed their supremacy yet again in gymnastics. Congrats Mitali and Palak. We wish luck to both the two athletes in their future endeavours. May both of them bring laurels for the nation in the Olympics.