Carving a niche for sports in Ladakh

Tashi Morup. Dated: 5/15/2019 2:54:20 PM

LEH, May 14: Sports in Ladakh has come a long way, but it is yet to achieve the standards to compete at top level. “I think it is because of not following the proper channel,” says Tsering Tsomo, a dedicated sports teacher, who, along with her colleague Nilza Angmo, was assisting a reputed Judo coach Tony Lee in a training camp held Skara Community hall in Leh recently.
Both Tsomo and Nilza were earlier trained by Lee who has 50 years of experience in teaching Judo with many national and international achievements under his name. After a long effort , we were able to invite Lee over to Ladakh so that local youth get this opportunity to learn Judo which has great potentials in terms of discipline, physical and mental fitness, she added. The training was held under the aegis of District Youth Welfare and Sports department, LAHDC Leh.
Both Nilza and Tsomo are among women physical education teachers in Leh with their own impressive sports backgrounds. While Nilza’s forte is Judo with great accolades, Tsomo has a rich football experience having played at national level and international training experiences including in Cuba. Their other colleagues Rinchen has mountaineering feats and Dolker in ice hockey. These women want to carve a niche for Ladakhi talents and open up national and international opportunities for upcoming generations.
The judo training, which they will resume soon, is one of their efforts to achieve those landmarks in the Ladakhi sports. There are though many achievements in marathon, archery, winter sports etc., however, the scope in other sports like football or indoor games are yet to be explored.
Greatest need is to develop networks with sports bodies at State and National levels apart from conducting regular training camps, Tsomo believes and she says that constant support from stakeholders is a must. This is the ‘proper channel’ she meant for a particular sports to get its due recognition. For example, she points out that Ladakhi ice hockey can go really far if it is recognised at centre and state levels.
Likewise, football has lot of potential and so is true about indoor events. Tsomo and her colleagues are aware of processes to be followed towards achieving those goals in different sports. And they have the will to do so. They know how to create that niche of Ladakhi sporting talents. What they need is support and facility at local level.
The generous offer by Skara community led by Goba Stanzin Shenyes was a great gesture , which encourages them to put in their effort with great spirit. “We are really thankful for getting this space for our Judo training, as of now but we need full-fledged indoor game facility in future, Tsomo said.
From the wee hours school students practiced in the indoor facility and open ground of the Skara community hall located in the backdrop of picturesque natural setting of the important wetland and traditional community pastureland. Coach Tony Lee assisted by Tsomo and Nilza begin with warm up exercises and the basics of real Judo techniques. Nilza is a judo certificate course achiever.
I consider Ladakh like those of North Eastern students among whom flexibility, strength and stamina are relatively better, Lee said. Tsomo said, Judo has great potential here in Ladakh in terms of career also apart from the overall benefit of it for physical, mental, emotional and social developments of the children.
She says, nowadays kids especially from urban areas like Leh lack stamina as they are mostly spent time before their television sets or on mobile and hardly does any physical activity. Hence, it becomes specially important for them and as in Judo like other sports provides ‘one base on platform’ that encourages healthy interaction with others helping them to grow as good citizens.
She goes on to say that having a coach like Lee, with his 50 years of experience, is a rare opportunity, which every boy or girl should avail. He has been national champion, and his students today are top coaches and referees even at many Asian level of events. Tsomo and Nilza first joined his training camp back in 2010, where he encouraged us to continue looking at our potential. We did try to introduce but without any support it was hard to invite him to Leh, but this time we were successful and camp started at Skara hall on 8th of this month, she said. Youngest of the participants are Stanzin Chhosgyal (6) and his brother Tsepak (7), but others are in the age group between 10 to about 15.
The training was due to be resumed after elections, however, it didn’t happen as promised. Meanwhile, they have also formed a Judo Association at the district level, which is affiliated to J&K Judo Association and she believes that even Olympic level participation will become a reality soon given the smooth and continues support from the administration.



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