Gujarat have given great importance to sports in the last decade. In the SGFI games, in 1996-1997 Gujarat won 25 medals and in 1998-1999 26 medals. In contrast, due to efforts such as Khel Mahakumbh, Gujarat has won 154 medals in 2011-12 and 139 medals in 2012-2013.
A team of women athletes who won in the Khel Mahakumbh hail from Sarakhdi village in Junagadh. Due to extensive coaching from the Centre of Excellence, they became the national champions. Similarly the Gujarat Volleyball team has won Bronze Medal at the national level.
Gujarat is a champion in skating, volleyball and Yoga. Gujarat is a champion in Yoga at the international level.
Gujarat has also established a Swarnim Gujarat Sports University which will provide a platform for coaching and training of the sportsmen, the results of which will become evident in the coming years.
Here are some of Gujarat’s sportspersons who have won laurels at the national and international level
In the individual games, Gujarat has champion players at the national level in Swimming, Shooting, Tennis, Table Tennis, Athletics and Billiards.
The Khel Mahakumbh initiated during the Swarnim Jayanti celebrations have instilled an atmosphere of sports in the entire state. In the first year 2010 there were 13.5 lakh participants, in 2011 there were 15 lakh participants and in 2012 there were 17.62 lakh participants.
Additionally special Centres of Excellence have been started for Archery, Kabaddi and Volleyball. Due to coaching being made available in the tribal areas of Gujarat, sportsmen like Dinesh Bhil have become national champions.
For the game of chess, Gujarat has arranged for extensive computerised coaching in 8000 schools. Even today Gujarat holds the Guinness World Record for maximum participants in a game of chess at one place, which is 20017 participants. Similarly, Gujarat holds the Limca Record for the Vivekanandwomens chess event where 34000 women participated.
Gujarat also holds a special Khel Mahakumbh for the specially abled. In 2011, 58000 and in 2012, 98000 specially abled sportsmen participated in it, which is also a world record. Recently, a specially abled sportsperson from Gujarat, Maya Devipujak won at the World Level in Hockey.
Neel Contactor- Winner at the National Junior level in 50, 100 metres free style and back stroke. He also represented India at the Asian Youth Championship.
Anshul Kothari- National Gold Medal winner in 50 metres free style and back stroke
Maana Patel- This 13 year old girl in the Junior Category has broken the national record of 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke in the senior category.
Rahul Choksi- Winner of National Gold Medal in 200m and 400m butterfly.
Shooting- Gujarat’s LajjaGoswami has won the Silver Medal at the recently organised ISSP World Championship and made India proud.
Tennis- AnkitaRainais currently India’s no 1 player and is a member of the Indian team.
Table Tennis-Harmit Desai is a member of India’s national table tennisand a source of pride for Gujarat.
Athletics- Babubhai Panecha is the national champion in the 20kms walk.
Triathlon- Puja Choksi represents India in triathlon.
Billiards- Rupesh Shah is the current world champion in Billiards.