Anandpur Sahib (Punjab), Jan 26(ANI): The second national rural sports tournament was recently held here, in which more than 2,000 players from 23 states took part to show their talent.
The event organised by Punjab sports department is an implementation of Union Government's 'Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhyan', and had boys and girls under the age group of 18 years participating in various sporting events.
They all came from rural areas and were eager to make their presence felt in the mainstream national and international sports.
"We have started organizing under-18 tournaments instead of under-16 tournaments. With experience in rural sports these players can take part in other national events. If the base is strong then only we will be able to make our country proud at the international level in Olympics and Asian games," said Harpal Kanwar, Convenor of the Ntional Rural Games Organising Committee.
SGPC ground, opposite Takth Shree Keshgarh Sahib, was the venue for Volleyball, kabaddi and kho-kho, where as competitions in archery and boxing was held at Dashmesh Martial Arts and Sports Academy.
The event was an effort by the Centre and the state authorities to tap potential in sports from rural India, and to make such events a success the Sports Authority of India has provided 480,000 dollars to Punjab to hold block, district and state level competitions.
The Punjab Sports Department has been organizing these lower level competitions for the last two years and every year 150,000 young and upcoming players participate in these tournaments.
"India's real talent lies in the villages. People in urban areas give less importance to sports. In villages, the diet is good that helps to prepare a talented sportsperson. If we tap talent from the rural areas we can get better results at the international level," said Madanpal Singh, coach of the Haryana kabbadi team.
Anamika Choudhry, captain of Punjab Volleyball team, said: "Sports are very necessary for physical fitness and career as well. We enjoy playing games. Sports boost our strength and many other benefits are there. There is no harm in taking up sports and it plays a very important role in everyone's life."
Host Punjab, which bagged overall trophy, also won the gold medal in both Boys and Girls sections of Kho-Kho event.
Haryana got second place by securing 20 points, and Andhra Pradesh came third with 14 points.
No matter who wins rural sports have been inspiring more youngsters to take to sports, and in recent years, India's performance in international sports is improving and the credit goes to sportspersons from the rural areas. By Sandeep (ANI)