My journey started in Muradnagar, a small town in Uttar Pradesh. When I was 14, I moved to Sports College in Lucknow, where my housing and education expenses were borne by the state so that I could focus solely on cricket.
Based on my personal experience, there is no shortage of talent in the state, but what has been missing so far was the guidance and support of the state government in the form of jobs and financial aids for training at the elite level.
However, the government of Yogi Adityanath is now bridging the gap quickly, and I am pretty sure that more and more athletes who will represent India and bring laurels to the country and state will be supported by the government’s sports institutions in UP. The kind of talent and hunger for success seen in children from the interiors of the state is second to none.
The state is quite active when it comes to hosting large tournaments, which will give the sport the much-needed boost, especially at this time when both players and organizations are getting restless after a year-long hiatus due to Covid-19 .
Earlier this month, Lucknow organized a series of five ODIs and three T20s for the Indian women’s cricket team after the Kerala Cricket Association notified the BCCI of their inability to host the games.
The women’s team played an international match with a capacity of 10% after one year. Merit goes back to the ingenuity and quick decision of the state government and the UP Cricket Association to achieve this.
The first international tennis tournament took place in the state capital after the lockdown – the ITF men’s 15,000-dollar event with appropriate security measures.
The UP government, led by Yogi Adityanath, aptly uses sport as a gentle force to demonstrate the immense potential of the state. And rightly so, because the state of more than 24 million people is home to some of the most phenomenal champions in sports.
To encourage more youth to exercise, the UP government has stepped up efforts to promote sport and state athletes by providing incentives in the form of sponsorships, jobs, etc. It is also heartwarming and encouraging to see the state government advocating greater grassroots participation for women to join the sport.
In the state’s 19 counties, 18 players who won medals in both the 21st Commonwealth Games and the 18th Asian Games received Rs 2.6 crore. Around 3.9 crore were awarded to 46 government medalists. The government’s tailored support to provide more opportunities drives more people to exercise more often.
Deepti Sharma and Poonam Yadav, members of the Indian team that won the silver medal at the 2017 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in London, were each awarded Rs 8 lakh. On the occasion of Uttar Pradesh Day for the year 2019-2020, 10 players were awarded the Laxman Award and eight players were awarded Rani Laxmi Bai Puraskaar.
The government’s recent initiative to provide jobs to women athletes in government departments such as transportation, energy, and other departments is a testament to how the government is focused on empowering women and creating a benevolent environment by providing them with world-class infrastructure places in which you can train. financial support and other incentives for them to advance in their chosen sport.
The government is also using its full power to support the “Khelo India” initiative, with which 37 new stadiums are being built in the state. The state government’s idea of building a sports university in Meerut is also commendable.
Sport has now become part of the social fabric of Uttar Pradesh and is of enormous importance for the well-being, physical and mental health of children. The government of Uttar Pradesh is on the right track to develop a holistic sports ecosystem in the state.
(The author is an international cricket star. The views expressed here are personal.)
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