There are a few sportspersons in the state who have put J&K on the national map of sports and that is a huge achievement considering J&K has a very poor presence in India when it comes to sports. A lot can be complained about the lack of government support, bureaucratic complacency or absence of infrastructure but that maybe is for another article. At this point, our focus is on a champ who has made it to the big stage without any of the above mentioned support.
Mitali Dogra is a state awardee and a Sher-i-Kashmir awardee. Her late father was a govt employee in the PDD and was one of the biggest supporters of her passion. She is popularly known as wonder girl and is also the youngest state awardee in J&K getting the award at a mere 17 years of age.
Mitali Dogra has represented India at the 29th World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships at Mie, Japan in 2009, World Cup in Rhythmic Gymnastics at Minsk, Belarus in 2010, FIG World Cup in Rhythmic Gymnastics at Pesaro, Italy and was a member of Indian Gymnastics team for Commonwealth Games at Delhi, India in 2010. Besides winning 38 medals in various National Championships, with 17 gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze, she also holds the record of winning all six gold medals in 18 Senior and Junior National R G Championships at Jodhpur in 2007.
Ms Dogra is a Rythmic Gymnast and she found her interest in Gymnastics in class 1. It was her mother’s dream that she were a part of Gymnastics and what was initially a push from her mother became life’s passion for Mitali.
“I have worked hard right from a young age and maybe that was the reason I could make it to the International Events after marking a presence in the National arena,” says a confident Mitali.
She takes pride in the fact that she has been able to win many accolades for Jammu and Kashmir and hopes that the government could do a lot more for its sportspersons.
Mitali has qualified again for an upcoming World Championship in Japan scheduled three months from now. She created history when she won six golds in Hoop, Ball, Clubs and Ribbon and that is a distinction in its own because no other Gymnast in India has been able to win these golds in all the categories.
She rues the fact that at the world championships, India lags behind because the floors that we practice on and those that we perform on are massively different and as a result the practice and plan gets watered down. She says with pride that Jammu girls are actually ahead in Indian Gymnastics but every effort gets turned down at the international level because of lack of facilities.
Alongwith practicing for national and international events, Mitali also helps the budding gymnasts in the state in practicing for the smaller competitions. “Seeing J&K’s performance at the international level, many parents have started sending their daughters to our Arjun Awardee coach, Mrs Krupali Patel Singh whose imagination has put us where we are. Both Krupali maam and her husband Mr. SP Singh, who is also a gymnastics coach have the biggest hand in putting Jammu where it is in the field of gymnastics.”
The gymnastics team from Jammu even after leading from the front at the national level has not found any support from the J&K government and it is sad that the team is actually considering participating under the name of another state in future.