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Kayaking players in Kashmir lament obselete equipment

Written by: Staff
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Srinagar, Nov 21 (UNI) Kashmir University managed to secure three bronze medals in the just-concluded All India Kayaking and Canoeing championship despite having obsolete equipment and lack of other basic facilities, according to team coach.

The team returned here from Chandigarh after participating in the championship, organised by the Punjab University at Sukhna Lake from November 14. In all, 20 teams took part in the tournament.

The team won three bronze medals in C1 1000 m and C2 1000 m events. While Vilayat Hussain Tinda won two medals, Vilayat Hussan Sofi bagged one.

Coach Mohammad Yousuf said Tinda, a highly trained canoeist, made his first entry on the national scene in 2003-04 in Hyderabad. In 2004-05, he clinched a silver medal in sub-junior national canoeing championship in Bhopal.

Tinda took part in all events and managed to win two medals in the recently held championhsip after defeating strong contenders in heats, quarter finals and semi-finals, he added.

The other members also qualified for finals in some events, but unfortunately lost as they were not used to modern and most delicate boats and paddles provided by the organisers, the coach said.

''They have been practising on 1985 model boats. Modern boats are light weight and narrow. It is difficult to maintain balance on these boats,'' he added.

The Kashmir University had participated in the inter-varsity tournament after a gap of six years. In 2000, it had organised the second All India Inter-University Tournament at Dal Lake and won the team championship by winning highest number of medals.

''Despite shortcomings, our boys performed extremely well and brought laurels for the University. We now have a young and talented team. Once polished, the players will certainly restore the glory of sports in Kashmir,'' the coach said.

Physical Education Director Dr K A Tarzan said due to efforts of the Kashmir Univeristy, Kayaking and Canoeing was recognised by the All India Inter-Univeristy Board of Sports as a competitive descipline in 1998. The first championship was allotted to Kerala by the Association of Indian Universities in 1999, he added.

The Kashmir University orgainised the second championship in 2000 in which only five teams Kerala, Bhopal, Kumaon, Osmamia and host Kashmir participated.

Jammu and Kashmir had played an important role in introducing and developing this major olympic sport in India. The state Tourism Department imported state-of-the-art kayaks and canoes in 1987.

The first two national championships were consecutively organised in Dal Lake in 1988 and 1989. ''The Tourism Department had purchased the equipment about 20 years ago. Today, we feel as if we are new to this sport,'' the coach added.

The players urged the authorities to immediately purchase modern kayaks, canoes and paddles and stressed for creation of a facility centre at the university campus.

''The campus is located close to two water bodies Nigeen Lake and Dal Lake. We can make full use of this natural facility if provided with equipment,'' they added.

UNI FMH DH GC1857

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