Over 100 climber from 22 states participates in competition
The two-day Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) All India Sport Lead Climbing National Championship, the first of its kind in India kicked off on Sunday at TRC Nowgam, Srinagar with an objective to promote adventure sports in Jammu and Kashmir.
Almost 104 climbers both men and women under different age categories comprising of sub-junior, junior and senior men took part in this competition.
The climbers participating in this championship came all the way from 22 states of the country which were placed in different zones including East Zone featuring with 12 climbers, West Zone with 28 climbers, North Zone with 39 climbers, South Zone with 4 climbers, North East Zone with 10 climbers, Services Zone with 6 climbers and Police Zone having 5 climbers came all the way to participate.
Commissioner Secretary Tourism J&K, Rigzian Sampheal threw open the competition in presence of President IMF, Colonel HS Chauhan, District Commissioner Srinagar, Dr. Abid Rasheed Shah (IAS), Director Tourism Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah, Chairman of National Sports Committee, Brigadier MP Yadav, Chairman West Zone, Sourabh Gandhi were the guest of honour. The event was also graced by the Judges, trainers, route tellers and other officials from other states besides enthusiastic parents and crowd.
President IMF Colonel HS Chauhan appreciated the role of tourism department in making this event a success.
“Kashmir is a very hospitable place and apart from having friendly weather conditions Kashmir is offering much more,” he said.
He said Kashmir is very dear to him as it has lot of adventure potential.
“Kashmir is one of the incredible and picturesque places in India and everyone should visit the place,” he said.
He further said that there is huge potential but to harness that there should be no restriction of funds and limited budget.
“We need to promote adventure sports so that youth of Kashmir can get involved in it and showcase their talent so as to become inspiration for others,” he said.
Addressing the gathering, Commissioner Secretary Tourism J&K, Rigzian Sampheal said tourism department would be signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IMF to promote adventure sports in the state.
He thanked the participants for turning up in the competition which, he said, would send a positive message across and also promote tourism.
“We are thankful to participants, their parents besides other guests in sending positive message to the country and to the world that Kashmir is safe," he said.
He urged the participants and their family members to visit the health resorts here and enjoy the natural beauty.
DC Srinagar Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah while speaking on the occasion said it is heartwarming to see the participants and their families from length and breadth of the country have visited the place for sports event.
“Kashmir is not what it is being projected in prime time debates on national media. Kashmir is a very peculiar place in terms of everything. Nature has given us the best in terms of endowment, beauty etc but we have few problems also,” he said.
While hailing the tourism department for the event, Shah said tourism sector is one of the mainstays of the economy.
Brigadier MP Yadav in his address said that they organized this competition with the thought to conduct multi National competitions in the country so that more youth get exposed to adventure sports at National level.
“There were hurdles initially but we find immense response from the participants for this competition. We are hoping to improve the performance of climbers and to hold such events again,” he said.
He further said that since this game is in Olympic discipline, “So we are fielding it for the 18th Asian Games for which we have identified 8 athletes.”
“Speed Climbing is catching up but due to lack of infrastructure we were not able to provide such platform to the youth earlier,” he adds.
During his address he also lauded the tourism department for their tremendous work and contribution in adventure sports.
In his welcome address Director Tourism J&K, Mehmood Ahmad Shah said tourism department has a long history of working with IMF and these relations have been there since IMF was formed.
“We started the revival process of mountaineering in J&K through the joint expedition with the local club- J&K Mountaineering Hiking Club from the previous years. When we launched the joint (IMF and Tourism Department) expedition to mount Polo Y N2015, we were successful in putting 15 members on the top of the peak and it was the first civilian expedition that took place after 27 years. In 2016, we climbed Harmukh, that too was the local initiative,” he said.
He said that they are getting impetus from IMF besides that local nucleus mountaineering has risen to touch new horizons.
“I’m happy that we have climbed the Sunset Peak after 41 years and few days back this year, we climbed the Kotwal Peak after 45 years. We also did the IMF mountaineers meet in 2011 prior to that we held the golden jubilee of IMF,” he said.
He further said it was the first time that in 2016 Climbathon was held in J&K.
“The biggest challenge for the tourism is the negative perception of the state and our endeavour is to dilute this perception by holding such kinds of events. Conducting such events will have a far reaching impression on the young minds and I’m happy to see that some participants were even in the age group 5-6 years,” he adds.
He also thanked IMF for their support and taking the lead to bring participants here.
One of the organizers of this event told Rising Kashmir that the objective of this championship is to promote adventure sports.
“As adventure sports is the part of tourism and through such ideal events both adventure sports and tourism can be promoted,” he said.
He further said that they conducted a four-day training program for local youth so that they too can participate.
“In future, we will be having regular training camps besides will take initiative to sponsor talented climbers of the valley,” he adds.
The National Championship is organized by the Department of Tourism in collaboration with Indian Mountaineering Foundation.