Sqay martial arts catching fancy of youngsters

Experts urge recognition from Sports Council

SRINAGAR: Sqay, an indigenous Kashmiri martial art, is fast catching up fast among the youngsters with an ever increasing enthusiasm, however, the Sports Council of the State rather than patronizing the game has been meting out an indifferent attitude.    

Taught in over twenty Indian states, Sqay championships have been held in various countries like Asthenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal &Sri Lanka –all under the auspices of World Sqay Council headquartered in the saffron town of Pampore. The game is gaining popularity in the countries like Iraq, Syria, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and Philippines.

The School Games Federation of India has already recognised the art which is gaining popularity at the world level also. The Federation organises competitions at the school, district, inter-district, state and national level while as, the Sqay Federation of India holds events up to the international level.

In spite of a huge number of participants from the valley earning medals and citations at various levels for the State, the Sports Council has altogether neglected the sports and is marring the future of the players. “Our participants would bring laurels to the State, if the Council breaks the ice and comes forward to recognise the game,”Sqay founder member, Mir Nazir, says. “Maharashtra state is already contemplating to recognise the game and J&K should follow suit.”

Known locally as shamsherzani (Sabre-fighting), Sqay is typically a South Asian martial art developed by the people of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.  

The competitors use a stick to simulate a sword, paired with a shield. The sword (tora or tura) is made of synthetic fibre sheathed in leather casing. Depending on age group, it measures between 2 and 2.6 feet long. The sword used during the competition is paired with a shield (bargula) measuring 9-19 inches in diameter, also covered in leather. The official uniform is blue, sometimes with red or yellow piping, consisting of trousers and a cross-front jacket with a belt around the waist. Chest and head guards are required only for sparring.


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