Kashmir will soon be put on the international map of hockey with the valley getting its first astroturf hockey stadium. With a cost of Rs 50 million, the stadium is built in the southern district of the valley, Pulwama, and will soon be open to hockey players.
The prospective players are joyous with the opening of the stadium here. Being built at the Government Boys Higher Secondary School Pulwama under the Augmentation of Sports Infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir, this is the first of its kind stadium in the valley. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha laid the foundation stone for the Hockey Astro Turf Stadium last year in September followed by his visit to Pulwama.
“This work has been going on for the last one year, this will be Kashmir’s first International Hockey stadium. This stadium is 102 by 60 metres, the work is still on and we will start with national tournaments and later international games too. Within days it will be completed now. Around Rs 50 million has been spent on this stadium. The turf is incomplete but children are so eager to play on this field. Pulwama youth has always shown more interest in hockey, but kids wanted a place to learn. When international hockey players come to play here, it will motivate our young generation to pick up this sport. and our youth are very talented but they just didn’t have facilities. and I am sure our children will play internationally soon,” said Syed Javed Iqbal, Lecturer, Physical Education, as quoted by Wionews.
This was a long-standing demand of Pulwama youth, who have always shown interest in this sport. It would help in the revival of the most celebrated game in the district and valley as well.
“We are all extremely happy and a lot of children come to us asking us when this will be completed so that they can play. They are so eager to play on this ground and we have told them it’s a matter of days now. Our children are talented, Pulwama has a lot of talent and now we have this turf and I am sure we will do great in hockey as well,” said Imtiaz Ahmad Pandit, a physical education teacher of Boys Higher Secondary Pulwama.
Specialists from around the country have been called up to assist in the construction of the turf. They are putting efforts to make this a stadium of international standards.
“There is no doubt that we can’t hold international matches here, We are an FIH approved agency, whatever materials we use are FIH approved. We have been working on the levels and turf for two weeks now and we have been installing turf for the last 6 days, within two weeks this stadium will be ready,” said S Raja, Technical Manager.
Enthusiasm is visible in the eyes of Kashmir players as they are already paying visits here. They are intently waiting for the stadium to open so they can start playing.