Sports and adventure-based sports have been gaining importance in the state of Uttarakhand over the recent years. The mutual dependence of sports and tourism in Uttarakhand is more than evident. Apart from being a sought-after destination for adventure sports, Uttarakhand is also famous for few other conventional sports. It has produced many renowned sportsmen who have excelled nationally and internationally.
The role and responsibility of the Sports Department of Uttarakhand The sports department of Uttarakhand focuses on creating a healthy environment for its sportsmen to be displayed both on national and international pageants. The department ensures proper infrastructure, organises training camps, upgrades and strengthens the departments in the districts and also assists in providing financial aids. Many sports colleges, sports clubs and associations are in place to encourage, assist and motivate sportsmen.
Football in Uttarakhand
The story and the everlasting romance between football and Dehradun can be traced back to the 18th century, when the British troops stationed in India played and fancied the sport. In 1937, after the formation of Dehradun District Sports Association, it started hosting District Football League. The matches were held between locals, government institutes and army teams. In 1966, Dehradun was declared as a major league after the Gorkha Brigade won the Durand Cup. Till date one can see the passion in the hearts of the people which is evident in more than a dozen clubs and institutes dedicated to this sport. Few of them include Ajabpur Young Star, Akranta Club, Doon Star Club, Garhwal Sporting club, Maharana Pratap Sports college, Doon Valley Boys Club, Uttarakhand Police, Vijay Cantt. Sporting Club and many more.
Badminton in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand State Badminton Association is an organization affiliated with Badminton Association of India. The basic objective is to promote the game of shuttle badminton amongst the children in Uttarakhand. Many players have excelled at the International and National events. They encourage, standardise, control, promote and develop the game of Badminton in the state by organising coaching, conducting training camps, tournaments and exhibitions. Many matches amongst schools, colleges, universities and states are also organised throughout the year.
Hockey and Ice Hockey in Uttarakhand
Apart from the passion for the conventional hockey sport, Ice hockey has been gaining immense importance in Uttarakhand. The artificial ice rink in Dehradun, remains to be the venue for many matches, which brings in teams both nationally and internationally round the year. The Ice Hockey Association of Uttarakhand trains and motivates many aspirants to pursue this sport.
Cricket remains to be a game fancied by millions in India. The Uttarakhand Cricket Association takes care of all the activities associated with this sport. Many sports academies like the National School of Cricket, Abhimanyu Cricket Academy, Maharana Pratap Sports college and many others nurture, train and produce stalwarts in this field. Few known and budding cricketers who have carved a niche for themselves include Manish Pandey, Pawan Negi, Puneet Bisht and Robin Bist. This place has created great women cricketers including, Ekta Bisht and Hemlata Kala.
The renowned former Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is also from the state of Uttarakhand.
Golf in Uttarakhand
The Golf courses of Uttarakhand remains to be one of the unrivaled beauty. Nestled amidst natural and picturesque beauty, it has been a hot spot for golfing enthusiasts. The state government has also planned to develop cluster of golf courses to encourage tourism in the state. The Raj Bhawan at Nainital has a Golf Course spread over 45 acres. The Golf Course, built in 1936, is one of the vintage golf courses in India, and is affiliated to the Indian Golf Union (IGU). However, membership is not being issued presently, one can pay a nominal fee to play and experience the beauty it has to offer. Ranikhet is another space in Uttarakhand which is famous as a golfing destination too. It flaunts a 9- hole golf course which came into existence as early as 1920. The rights for admission are reserved by the Army. Many tournaments and matches are conducted, which attracts golfers from all parts of the country.
Shooting in Uttarakhand
The state which has many shooting clubs is proof enough to show the multitudes of aspiring individuals interested in this sport. Academies like Maharana Pratab Sports Academy, Jaspal Rana Institute, Bulls eye shooting academy, Kasiga School, Doon Institute of Shooting and Sports have shooting ranges which meet up with international standards. These institutes train and conduct competitions round the year.
Abhinav Bindra, an internationally acclaimed shooter, Olympic gold medalist and India’s pride is from Uttarakhand.
Sports Personalities from Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand had provided India with many leading sportsmen proving their mettle in various fields of sports. Some of them are:
Unmukt Chand (born on 26 March, 1993) is a major, upcoming Indian cricketer. He is a right-hand batsman who usually plays as an opening batsman. He plays for Delhi in Indian domestic cricket tournaments and Delhi Daredevils in the IPL. Unmukt led the India Under-19 cricket team to the U-19 Cricket World Cup victory in 2012. He hit an unbeaten 111 in the final against Australia in Townsville. He originally hails from Khudku Bhalya village of Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand.
Jaspal Rana (born on June 28, 1976) is an Indian shooter. He participated mostly in the 25 m Centre Fire Pistol category. He was a gold medalist at the 1994 Asian Games, 1998 Commonwealth Games - Men's Center Fire Pistol, Men's Center Fire Pistol Pairs, 2002 Commonwealth Games - Men's 25m Center Fire Pistol, 2006 Commonwealth Games - Men's 25m Center Fire Pistol Pairs, and 2006 Asian Games. He is a native of Jaunsar Bawar area of District Dehradun, Near Mussoorie. At present, Rana coaches at the Jaspal Rana Institute of Education and Technology in Dehradun.
Major achievements of Jaspal Rana
Gold Medal in the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan
Gold medal in Men's 25m Centre Fire Pistol (Pairs) with Samaresh Jung at the 2006 Commonwealth Games
Gold Medals in 25m Standard Pistol and 25m Center Fire Pistol at the 2006 Asian Games on 7-8th Dec 2006
While winning the 25 m Center Fire Pistol event, Rana equaled the world record by aggregating 590 points.
Awards and recognitions: In 1994, Jaspal Rana was awarded Arjun Award, the second highest award for achievement in sport, by the Indian government at an age of eighteen, by twenty one he became a Padma Shri and in between he was awarded National Citizen Award by Mother Teresa.
Adventure Sports in Uttarakhand
Adventure sports remains to be one of the major sources of revenue for the state. Uttarakhand hosts many national and international competition for Adventure Sports, which bring in multitudes of passionate and avid sportsmen taking part in the adrenaline gushing events.
Few of the important adventure sports being:
The Garhwal and Kumaon region constitutes a large part of the Himalayas. It has many world famous peaks and most challenging ones. This has been the main reason for many ardent mountaineering individuals to throng this place for expeditions and scaling the peaks. Mountaineering is a strenuous task and a great level of physical endurance is required to pursue this sport. There are many mountaineering academies, clubs and institutes which trains individuals. Nehru institute of Mountaineering, Himalayan Adventure Institute, Indian Mountaineering foundation. There are many competitions conducted by the institutes.
Bachendri Pal, the first woman mountaineer who reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1984, belongs to Uttarakhand. Few famous mountaineers who scaled the peak and carved a niche for them include Major Harsh Vardhan Bahuguna and Chandraprabha Aitwal.
Best season: Summer and autumn months. (A strict no during monsoons, since the weather gets unpredictable)
Things Required for Mountaineering: Shoes, harness, ropes, rope care, belay devices, cordlette, chalkbag, webbing and carbiners are some of the equipments that you should carry on mountain sports tour. The climbing routes should be kept in mind and one must be equipped with a route map. A professional guide is always a sane choice.
White Water Rafting
White water rafting is one of the thrilling adventure sports that lures people. The Ganges, which is docile at places, turns into a violent gush of whirlpool, maneuvering theses rapids accounts for some spectacular and spine chilling moments. The confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers at Devaprayag is a challenging rafting destination. Rishikesh is one of the most important amongst the water rafting destinations, since it provides opportunity for almost all degrees of rafting, ranging from Grade 1 (simple) to Grade 6 (most difficult and dangerous). River rafting seasons come to a complete standstill during monsoons when the water turns turbulent and furious. The Indian River Running Association organises an All India level rafting competition, in the month of March and April each year. Best season for Rafting in Uttarakhand: March to June and September to November are considered as the ambient time for this sport.
Things required: Suitable rafting gear includes wetsuit and life jacket. Carry dry bags to safely store personal items that you might bring during the trip. Avoid carrying car keys, wallets and mobile phones on a rafting expedition. Remember to dress in layers, so that you do not face any difficulty adding or removing. Dress up in synthetic materials, including wool and polyester is highly advised so as to keep your body warm during the river rafting trip.
Kayaking and Canoeing
Ganges and its network of waterways offer many spellbinding opportunities for water sports. The Kayaking, Canoeing and Rafting Association of Uttarakhand conducts activities and competitions to promote these water sports. While Canoeing is done best when the river meets the plain and few places in Uttarakhand, Kayaking is done both on flat and white water. Kayaking is for those who are looking for a bit of zing and adrenaline rush. Few places in Uttarakhand where paddling can be done are, Rishikesh, Dakpathar and Ramganga. Best Season: May/June or September/October.
Things required: Dry suits or wet suits, life jacket, clothing in layers, shoes or sneakers. Remember to pack an extra pair of clothes and socks, dry bags to carry essential items.
Rock climbing has become a major sport and has seen a steady increase amongst sports enthusiasts. Rock climbing has many types and techniques involved. Rappelling, chimney climbing, bridge slithering, Jumaring are few of the thrilling activities one can try along with the rock climbing. Rock climbing courses are conducted in Uttarakhand. Nehri Institute of Mountaineering, Ganga Valley Adventure, Nainital Mountaineering Club and Himalayan Adventure Institute are some of the few places, where training courses and camps are conducted for rock climbing.
Things to carry: Ropes, Carabiners, Quickdraws, Harness, belay devices and Rappel devices.
Things to Remember: Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport and often tests a climber's strength, endurance, agility and balance along with mental control. One has to be physically and mentally fit to undertake this sport.
The vast expanse of snow-covered stretches of the Himalayas, offer a scintillating opportunity for both professional skiers and for first timers too. The skiing locations in Uttarakhand include Auli, Mundali, Dayara Bugyal, Munsiyari and Kush Kalyani. Auli is considered as one of the most sought-after skiing destinations, even globally. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN), conducts a 7-day and 14-day-long Skiing course.
Auli hosted its first SAF winter games in the year 2011.
Best Season: Skiing is done all through the year, except monsoon.
Things required : Skis- (the most essential) which are available on rent, Water proof clothing, boots, two pairs of socks, water proof gloves, helmet, goggles and sun screen lotion. Remember to wear clothes in layers, so as to remove or add accordingly. Check for the weather or snow conditions before you set out.
The lofty snow-covered mountains of Himalayas and the rich green meadows, offer many interesting Paragliding moments. This recreational and flying sport, has been gaining popularity in the recent years. Rishikesh, Mussoorie, Dayara Bugyal, Pratap Nagar, Ranikhet, Mukteshwar and Naukuchiayatal are few important and conducive places for paragliding. There are a number of Paragliding clubs, schools and institutes which offer Paragliding courses. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam and the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam are enterprises of the Uttarakhand State government, which conduct paragliding courses and camps.
Best Season: The best time being from September to May.
Thing Required: Helmet, casual and comfortable clothes according to the weather, a pair of shoes that gives a lot of ankle support (preferably sturdy boots), gloves and knee pads. Also bear in mind, that one has to be physically fit to take on this expedition.
Uttarakhand makes for an array of interesting, mind-boggling adventure sport destination.... So be there to experience the spine chilling adrenaline rush!!!
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