Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Goverment recognizes contribution of Kashmiri Olympian after 20 years

Honors Gul Mustafa Dev with state award

Abid Khan
Srinagar, Jan 27: Finally after 20 long years J&K Government recognized the services of only Olympian of State Gul Mustafa Dev by announcing state award for him for his contribution to sports in the state.
On the occasion of January 26 Republic Day, Government announced the state awards for 17 persons for their contribution in various fields of life, which included four sports persons. Those who figure in list are Mitali class 12th student for Gymnastic, Ram Singh Slathia for mountaineering, Ajay Sharma for table tennis and Gul Mustafa Dev for skiing would be honored for their contribution in the field of sports.
Gul Mustafa has got the credit of being only Olympian of state in any decline till date. He achieved that feat in February 1988 when he represented India in the Winter Olympic games in Calgary Canada.
Despite being the only Olympian of the state it took state Government more than 20 years to recognize the contribution of Gul and to honor him with state award. Gul is presently in Gulmarg training school students of various schools of state skiing as part of the Youth Services and Sports department snow skiing programe. He got news of award from one of his friend.
Talking to Greater Kashmir on phone from Gulmarg Gul Mustafa thanked government for finally recognizing his services.
He said, “ I am very happy and for this I am thankful to Government for recognizing my services in the field of sport. Though I think I should have got it very early but still I am happy that finally Government recognized my services”.
He said that getting state award is an honor and every individual aspire for it.“ It is an honor nothing more than that. Every state subject aspires for this honor and for it is now fulfilled and I am happy”.
Gul Mustafa a resident of Maharaja Bazaar Srinagar says, “ sports was in my blood and my father Haji Habi-ul-lah Dev was number one football goalkeeper of his times and was playing for Friends Club, seeing my fathers goalkeeping maneuvers Maharaja Hari Singh gave him the name of Habib Punz. After that every one knowed my father by this name”.
In February 1984 Mustafa participated in his first National games that were held in Gulmarg and due to his young age and lack of experience could not do well at these games. But in next years National game that were held exactly one year after the previous years nationals Mustafa proved his caliber by winning one gold in giant slalom and two Bronze medals in down hill race and slalom event. With his brilliant performance he was selected for Asian Winter Games that were held in Japan in February 1985 and Indian team got Fifth position there. In 1988 trials for Olympics were held in Gulmarg in which Gul got selection.
“To participate in Olympics is every sports persons dream but only few achieve it and to see my self-participating in reality, what I have not even imaged is the moment which I cannot describe” says Mustafa.
From 1993 Mustafa has trained more than 10,000 boys and girls in skiing at Gulmarg through the Skiing courses conducted by the Department of youth services and sports and among them many have participated in the national and international competitions.
Gul Mustafa has not only marveled in his sporting career but he has also given his full potential to the coaching profession as well.
In February 2004 Winter Sports of Federation of India selected Mustafa as a coach of sub junior team for junior Asian championship that was held in china.
About the scope of skiing in valley Gul Mustafa says, “Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg can hold worlds best skiing, and with the introduction of second phase of Gulmarg gondola skiing at high altitudes can be done that are more fascinating then doing in planes but the only thing needed to be done is to maintain and develop the slopes. It is not the snow and mountain that form ski slopes but slopes have different characteristics”.Skiing is the expensive game and every body cannot afford to by his own ski, the latest pair of ski costs around 50 thousand to one lakh rupees. Even our sports council has not got his own skiing equipments and they hire them from tourism department, he said.

published in greater kashmir on Janaury 28-2009 link: http://www.greaterkashmir.net/full_story.asp?Date=28_1_2009&ItemID=3&cat=4

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