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Government spends crores to build first International Hockey Stadium in Kashmir

The government in Kashmir has shelled out 5 crores to build an international hockey stadium in Pulwama to encourage the sport among the youth.

Pulwama Hockey Stadium in south Kashmir

Pulwama Hockey Stadium in south Kashmir (Source: WION)


The Bridge Desk

Published: 23 Sep 2021 6:05 AM GMT

Nestled in the hills of the Pir Panjal range, Kashmir's once-terrorised Pulwama district has a reason to smile once more. For hockey players and enthusiasts alike in the Kashmir valley, there are good tidings as the government in Kashmir has made its first big investment in the southern region of the state by building an astroturf hockey stadium of international standards. Shelling out Rs. 50 million for this project, the Kashmiri government seeks to encourage the spirit of hockey and generate the passion for the sport among the talented youth of Kashmir, especially those hailing from the Pulwama area.

As suspected, the construction of the astroturf for hockey has got the youth already excited as they have started paying impatient visits to the site and have been asking around about when the stadium will be fully completed and they can take their hockey sticks out for a drag-and-flick run on the green turf of the Pulwama Stadium, WION reports.

Built at the Government Boys Higher Secondary School Pulwama under the Augmentation of Sports Infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir, the foundation stone for the Hockey Astro Turf Stadium was laid in September 2020 itself when Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha made his first visit to Pulwama.

Workers keep busy to construct the Stadium in Pulwama (Source: Reshi Irshad/ The News World)

There is no dearth of sporting talent in the Kashmir valley but the main drawback has always been the lack of facilities for the Kashmiri youth to hone their skills in their chosen area of sport. Having noticed and recognised this malady, the government in Kashmir sought to remedy it with the construction of the stadium which is sure to attract a pool of players and revamp the sport in the state.

"This work has been going on for the last one year, this will be Kashmir's first International Hockey stadium. This stadium is 102 by 60 metres, the work is still on and we will start with national tournaments and later international games too. Within days it will be completed now. Around Rs 50 million has been spent on this stadium. The turf is incomplete but children are so eager to play on this field. Pulwama youth has always shown more interest in hockey, but kids wanted a place to learn. When international hockey players come to play here, it will motivate our young generation to pick up this sport. and our youth are very talented but they just didn't have facilities. and I am sure our children will play internationally soon," said Syed Javed Iqbal, Lecturer, Physical Education to WION.

A new dawn for the hockey-aspiring youth of Kashmir

The Hockey Astro Turf Stadium in Pulwama (Source: WION)

A lot of excitement has been doing the rounds ever since the work began for the stadium which is due to be completed very soon. The stadium points to a new future for hockey in Kashmir as the government hopes that with this International Stadium at hand, more players can come up who can compete at the international stages as well.

"We are all extremely happy and a lot of children come to us asking us when this will be completed so that they can play. They are so eager to play on this ground and we have told them it's a matter of days now. Our children are talented, Pulwama has a lot of talent and now we have this turf and I am sure we will do great in hockey as well," said Imtiaz Ahmad Pandit, a physical education teacher of Boys Higher Secondary Pulwama, where the stadium has been built.

However, this isn't any ordinary stadium but rather quite the fancy one that can also be used to host international matches.

"There is no doubt that we can't hold international matches here, We are a FIH approved agency, whatever materials we use are FIH approved. We have been working on the levels and turf for two weeks now and we have been installing turf for the last 6 days, within two weeks this stadium will be ready," said S Raja, Technical Manager to the WION.

The construction of the stadium comes as a wish fulfilled for the players of the state who were desperately looking out for a turf like this to get better at their sport. "I am extremely happy and it's great news for all of us, including players from Pulwama. Kashmiri players have a platform now and can represent the country at international level, people had lost interest and now with these turfs, youngsters are again picking up this sport. Players will be motivated now to play the sport. We will learn so much from the international players playing in these stadiums," said Inderpreet Singh, a hockey player, to the WION.

With the stadium ready to play host to the players in a few weeks from now, a new dawn is on the horizon for hockey in Kashmir as the interest in the sport has already risen seeing this being made. "I am extremely happy and it's a very big step, it will motivate the players, I went from here to see the turf. There were players from across different districts of Kashmir just to watch the turf. which means how eager they are to play this sport. The youth gets motivated when they see players wearing Indian jerseys, it motivates us to play more and better," said Salman Nissar, a hockey player.

It's refreshing to see Kashmir take the plunge towards a more sporty future with this stadium and get itself on the international hockey map - and what better location than this one to play hockey in, it cannot get more scenic than this!

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