Punjab’s traditional martial art, Gatka, is poised to get a boost nationwide as the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has included it as a demonstration sport in the 2023 National Games, scheduled to be held in Goa in October.
Medals won in demonstration sport are not included in the overall medals tally but Gatka becoming a part of the National Games curriculum this year means it has a good chance of becoming a competitive discipline in the next edition.
Harjeet Singh Grewal, the National Gatka Association of India (NGAI) chief, said in a statement: “We have long yearned for due recognition of this game by the IOA”.
Earlier, the Sports Ministry had approved the inclusion of four indigenous sports, including Gatka and Kalaripayattu, in the Khelo India Youth Games 2021, held in Haryana.
Gatka is a style of martial art where wooden sticks, measuring 3-3.5 feet, are used along with shields made of dry leather for the safety of the rivals.
A meeting of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Games Technical Conduct Committee (GTCC) was held in New Delhi recently where Gatka was include as a demonstration sport.
Grewal said the NGAI had been promoting the sport in 22 states and added that its inclusion in the National Games would develop the game further.
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