New age sports fascinate youth in rural Punjab

June 2nd, 2009 - 8:04 pm ICT by ANI  

By Ravinder Singh Robin

Amritsar, June 2 (ANI): Punjab is known for its rural sports like Kabaddi and wrestling. But, an increasing number of youth in rural areas are today taking to modern-day sports to carve out of career out of them.

The trend can be prominently witnessed in the State’s Amritsar District where the popularity of modern sports is on the rise.

Mazwind village is Majitha District despite not being economically well-off, is commended for its breed of sportspersons.

A visit to this dusty hamlet reveals that not many children are no longer playing local games like “Gulli Danda”, “Pithu Garam” or “Kanchay” or even traditional kabaddi and wrestling.

There is a growing charm among local youngsters here to play football, hockey and athletics.

The fascination among these youngsters for new attractions like football and hockey has increased also due to motivation by village authorities and rural sports clubs, who want rural youth to prosper in modern-day sports.

“Sports have always been a vital part of villages. With the changing times, Punjab too has adopted modern sports. Earlier, Gulli-Danda was very popular among children in rural areas. But there is no scope for such sports,” said Sukhdeep Singh Siddhu, Village head of Mazwind.

Witnessing the growing interest among local youth, the Punjab Government has made changes in its sports policy.

In the next two years, the focus of the government would be on introducing modern sports infrastructure, providing world class training to improve sports standards to make Punjab the number one state in sports.

The State Government has stated it would identify the talent available in particular belts and sports infrastructure would be developed keeping the availability of talent in a particular area in mind.

Priority games would be identified for promotion and popularization and the state government would also encourage other games also.

“Playing modern sports in the villages will further help youngsters to perform better in their colleges. They can easily make an impression on their coach, who will further develop their careers in sports,” said Gurjinder Singh, a player.

“A stadium has been constructed in the village. The players do feel that this stadium has been constructed for them, so those who even don’t play have developed an interest in sports. The young boys spend two to three hours here in the stadium instead of watching TV, films or indulging in bad habits. I believe that such activities are helpful in maintaining a good atmosphere in the village,” said Sukhdeep Singh Siddhu, Village head in Mazwind.

Till 1980, India was regarded as a hockey giant, and Punjab made a major contribution by producing many players who went on to achieve national and international fame.With improvement of infrastructure and promotion of other modern sports like football, volleyball and athletics in rural areas, it is hoped Punjab would be able to contribute more in terms of producing many more quality players.

The state will also host a number of international events to give a further fillip to its budding sportsmen. (ANI)

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