Pencak Silat Eyeing Bigger Recognition Following National Games Debut

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Panaji, 27 October: Pencak Silat, a full-body Martial Arts form, made its debut at the ongoing 37th edition of the National Games at Goa and has immediately grabbed eyeballs among sports fans.

 

Originated in Indonesia in the 14th Century AD, the sport has been gaining a strong foothold in India, thanks to the formation of Indian Pencak Silat Federation in 2012 in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Though the spot has its roots in Jammu and Kashmir, states like Maharashtra, Manipur and Goa have been promoting it aggressively. And the officials are confident that becoming a regular feature in the National Games will only help the sport’s popularity further.

 

In Goa, as many as 316 athletes from 28 States and Union Territories are taking part in Pencak Silat.

 

“From a sport which no one knew about to having its presence in almost all States and Union Territories is the result of the hard work that we did over the years,” said Mohammed Iqbal, CEO, Pencak Silat Federation of India.

 

“The recognition we got this time in Goa is huge. We were all waiting for a debut at the National Games and now that it has been achieved, we are ready for the next step to make Pencak Silat even more popular in the country.”

 

“We also received the news from the Government of India that Daman and Diu will be hosting the inaugural edition of the National Beach Games in December this year and out of 12 sports they have picked, Pencak Silat is one of them,” he added.

 

A cursory glance at Pencak Silat and its various stances, steps, and most importantly categories make the sport all the more interesting.

 

“Pencak Silat is all about displaying your strength and agility. For instance, there is Tanding which is a fast-paced affair where participants are rewarded for well-placed strikes and encourage counters via takedown or sweeps. Then there are Tunggal (Single), Ganda (Double), and Regu (Team) categories respectively.”

 

“It’s more than a sport for those who take part in it. It is more of an art form and Pencak Silat deserves greater platforms in the coming days,” said Mohammed Iqbal.

 

Jammu and Kashmir Leading the Way

 

National-level players Muskan Ara and Saliq Khan, who took up Pencak Silat back in 2015-16 threw light on the popularity of the sport back home.

 

“There is no doubt that this year’s National Games in Goa will provide the necessary impetus to Pencak Silat in the coming days. Jammu and Kashmir has a number of athletes participating in Pencak Silat and I have never seen such a craze before,” said Muskan.

 

Added Saliq, “More and more youngsters are taking up Pencak Silat and making a career out of it than ever before. The motivation that we have got from this year’s National Games will surely help the sport to reach the next level in this country.”

 

Maharashtra Eyeing Top Spot

 

Maharashtra has sent a contingent of more than 20 athletes and are aiming to top the medals standing in the sport.

 

“The motivation is huge this time, thanks to everything that the Government of India has done to provide such a big platform to Pencak Silat,” said Anuj, a two-time Asian Bronze medalist.

 

“I have been playing this sport since 2009 and have represented India quite a number of times. While Pencak Silat is still a relatively lesser-known sport, many youngsters are coming forward to showcase their skills and talent,” he added.

 

Anshul Kamble, another Pencak Silat veteran from Maharashtra offered an interesting take on the popularity of the sport.

 

“Given the fact that Pencak Silat teaches an athlete a lot about self-defense and discipline, I see more youngsters from not only Maharashtra but other states too investing a lot of time in picking up the sport as a long-term career,” he added.

 

Anshul Kamble, another Pencak Silat veteran from Maharashtra offered an interesting take on the popularity of the sport.

 

“Given the fact that Pencak Silat teaches an athlete a lot of self-defense and discipline, I see more youngsters from not only Maharashtra but other states too investing a lot of time in picking up the sport as a long-term career.

 

“India only had a contingent of four athletes at the Jakarta Asian Games in 2018. However, this year’s participation gives me hope that the next edition of the Asian Games will see more athletes in India. And, one day, maybe at the Olympic Games too, when the sport earns its re

cognition,” Anshul signed off with a smile.

 

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