Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, December 13
For the first time, gatka competitions will be held for the age group of 25-35 years. Till now, not even once tournaments were ever held for players aged above 25, but now, the Gatka Federation of India (GFI) is planning to hold the competitions for the age group of 25-35 years soon.
Baljinder Singh Toor, general secretary of the Gatka Federaion of India, said: “This will be for the first time. The motive behind it was to make professionals in the game just like other sports. The idea is to keep the interest among players alive even after the age of 25. The player must feel encouraged to perform even after this age,” he said, adding that it would be a challenge to find response for the game in other states.
Gatka, which is associated with Sikh Gurus and popular among the masses as Sikh martial arts, found a new high with the game finding its presence in the National School Games in 2014 but it was removed in 2017.
Members of the federation, who had been organising the sport at the National School Games in the state, had written to the department to take up the matter with the School Games Federation of India (SGFI). The general secretary of the federation had then said the decision of its removal was taken as enough teams were not participating in the sport. Gatka players were on cloud nine when the state government included it on the gradation list in 2015.
Toor said the game was started by sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind for self-defence. It is never meant to attack others.
In 2015, when the National School Games were held in Jalandhar, teams from Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had participated in Gatka. Girls from Bihar, Uttarakhand and Malayalam-speaking region were part of the Chandigarh team.
There are several academies in the state that teach gatka, but a proper diploma in gatka is also being offered at Punjabi University, Patiala, and Khalsa College, Amritsar.
However, there are no government coaches for the sport in government schools across the state.
***Federation playing important role
Gatka found its presence in the sports category after the formation of the GFI in 2008 and is now played by trained gatka players at the national level.
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