The Gatka Federation UK, led by Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, the first turban-wearing Sikh Member of the British Parliament, has expressed immense joy and gratitude following the inclusion of Gatka sport in the prestigious National Games of India.
Dhesi, in a statement, shared his excitement, saying, “This achievement has brought immense joy to Gatka athletes worldwide. The recognition of Gatka in India will serve as an inspiration for other countries, promoting this esteemed sport and traditional art on an international scale.”
He highlighted the significant impact of participation in the National Games, stating that it would not only help Gatka flourish in India but also gain global recognition. Dhesi applauded the World Gatka Federation for their valuable contribution and recognized the tireless efforts of Harjeet Singh Grewal, President of the National Gatka Association of India (NGAI), over the past fifteen years in achieving this remarkable milestone.
Dhesi extended his heartfelt congratulations to all Gatka players, technical officials, coaches, and referees. He also expressed gratitude towards the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for their dedicated efforts in this regard, while expressing hope that the IOA would continue to provide further opportunities to the NGAI for promoting this extraordinary Indian art.
He informed that Gatka, a time-tested martial art form that also serves as a self-defense sport, has been a regular part of competitions in higher educational institutions since 1936. Unfortunately, it was discontinued after 1985. It took 87 years for the IOA to acknowledge this ancient art/sport as a game, considering that many contemporaneous games had already been recognized by the IOA and the International Olympic Committee, he added.
Dhesi revealed that the World Gatka Federation has formulated a comprehensive roadmap called “Vision Document-2030” aimed at promoting and popularizing Gatka sport globally. He further disclosed that the next objective outlined in this roadmap is to include Gatka in prominent events such as the Asian Games, SAIF Games, Commonwealth Games, and ultimately, the Olympic Games.
Emphasizing the importance of achieving this goal, Dhesi pointed out that other sports similar to Gatka have already been included in the aforementioned international games. He expressed confidence in the international community’s continued support, believing that Gatka will soon be acknowledged as a truly global sport.
Dhesi concluded by expressing his eagerness to collaborate with all stakeholders in order to transform this vision into reality. On this occasion, Jang Bahaadur Singh and Kamal Preet Kaur were also present alongside him, sharing the excitement of this remarkable achievement.