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After the recent collapse of PDP-BJP alliance Government in Jammu and Kashmir, several members of both the political parties who were holding different positions in the administration, resigned.
Among them was Waheed-Ur-Rehman Para, President Youth PDP, who also stepped down from his post of Secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council.
His resignation was an end to his two year association with J&K sports. During his reign with the Council, State saw many turnarounds in the Sports.
Initiatives like, State Football Academy and State Cricket Academy came into existence, huge engagement of youth from different regions of State with multiple games, upliftment of Women sports and so on.
Apart from these milestones, Para helped many premier sportspersons get a recognition from the Government, which was for the first time in the State.
He also kept facilitating the sportspersons to boost their morale.
Para started his innings with J&K Sports Council during the Kashmir Unrest in 2016.
“I joined the post of Secretary, Sports Council in 2016, when the conditions in State were in mess. There were lot of challenges and we seek opportunities among them.” Para told The Bridge.
In the period of two years of Para’s association with Sports Council, the participation of youth in sports increased swiftly.
“We mainly focused to engage youth with the sports and somehow succeeded in the same. We were able to engage 1,20,000 youth in different sports activities in the same year, I handled the job.” Para said.
Taking sports as a career in a State that often remains in disturbance and lacks proper infrastructure is not easy but Para worked to give sportspersons the much needed recognition, that helped budding players take sports more seriously.
Para started his innings with J&K Sports Council during the Kashmir Unrest in 2016
“I consider sportspersons as ambassadors of harmony and peace. Giving them recognition and encouraging them is really important for the betterment of sports.“Para believes.
Para helped some of the star sportspersons get recognition by Government, which he thinks helped them excel
“Only if you support them can they bring laurels to the State.“ Para said.
Getting J&K on the International map of sports was one of the major aims of Waheed-Ur-Rehma led Sports Council.
“We tried our best to get State on International map of sports and that was only possible by encouraging the players sportsmanship.” Para revealed.
Women sports in State was nowhere in the scene before the arrival of Para but took a new shape in Para’s reign for which he credits, former CM of state, Mehbooba Mufti.
“Sports council was always backed by Hon’ble Chief Minster and Hon’ble Sports Minister in whatever lies for the interest of youngsters in the State. I believe in equal representation and it is a state where women folk are seen in different prism.” Para said.
J&K’s participation in Indian Womens League was one of the major steps taken for the betterment of Women sports in the Valley. The team was named Chief Minister’s XI
“Chief Minister’s XI was formed and for the first time they represented at IWL (Indian Womens League), which was a dream come true.” Para claimed.
The now erstwhile Chief Minister was also behind initiating the State Football Academy and the State Cricket Academy in the state of J&K as Para reveals.
“After efforts by Chief Minister and Sports Minister, institutions of SFA(State Football Academy) and SCA(State Cricket Academy) were established in order to reach at grass roots.”
These academies later spread all over the state to reach out rural areas and help the raw talent grow. Para thinks these institutions will keep running even after his reign ended,
“These institutions have set up district academies /units in all districts besides 8 women academies. We hope these institutions will function smoothly and run to serve the larger cause of Youth in the state.” Para said.
The criticisms of Waheed Ur Rehman Para
There were several allegations on Para that he promoted unrecognised associations while left some major ones, which though he refused to accept,
“It is on the records that no unrecognised associations were promoted. We infact sponsored and promoted the unknown faces and brought them to limelight in the field of sports.” Para responded.
Para had joined J&K sports in order to develop the sports in Valley and when asked if he succeeded or not,
Para said, “People are the best person to judge. We managed to do lot for the sports with a meager sum of 2.20 cr per financial year.”
“From the year 2016, more than 3 lakh aspiring sportsperons/ youngsters remained associated with the sports activities, be it in tournaments, events, championships, coaching camps.”
Para feels he did whatever best he could and is hopeful of witnessing more success in Sports in the State. He in his message to the sportspersons of state said,
“My message to all sportspersons is that don’t loose hope during the hard times. Sports departments are run by you and are for you. JK Sports Policy is framed and they should go through that for further deliberations,” he concluded.
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