If Godhra still reminds you of the gory images of the charred S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express,then behold,for it is now in the process of emerging as a hub of sporting activities.
For the first time in the history of Panchmahals,three district associations have been formed in the last fortnight. These include associations of Table Tennis (TT),badminton and cricket. Besides,a national-level TT tournament will he held from October 8 for six days,a first for the town.
Panchmahals District Collector Milind Torawane said: The town had its own image,which had been haunting the locals for long. We had an opportunity to change the peoples perception and that is why we grabbed the opportunity to host the national-level event.
Godhras image worked even on the minds of wards of the participants who recently attended the national-level coaching camp.
The parents were actually worried about their children and they actually accompanied them. But after they came here and witnessed the safe environment,they went back, Torawane said.
Dr Sanjiv Kamodia,president of newly formed TT Association of Panchmahals,said: So far,there was no infrastructure for the players to show their talent. Whatever limited activities were going on were at the club level. We thought of providing a platform to the local talent and Torwane played a crucial role in that. We have chalked out a detailed plan for the budding talents with about five venues where we will be calling expert coaches from different parts of the state. We are also planning to give sports kit to the players.
Rajendra Patel from the Congress,who holds the post of president in the Badminton Association of Panchmahals,said: Sporting activities were never given importance in this region. Though we have more than 100 shuttlers playing regularly,there were no organised efforts to take these talents to the state and national level. Now with the formation of the association,we plan to have the state ranking tournament in Godhra for the first time in its history.
The story of Godhras image building exercise does not end here. Just before one enters the town,one will get to see Panchmahals first turf wicket.
The association which was there was functioning at Lunawada and it hardly used to attract budding talents because of its geographical location. We have now formed the Panchmahals District Cricket Association to give a chance to local talent, said Moish Bodeliwala,executive president of Panchmahals District Cricket Association.
He added: We have already been given land for developing a state-of-the-art cricket ground which will have two pitches for practice and matches. The first camp will begin shortly with 300 players. Renowned coaches like Mehndi Shaikh have agreed to help us.