Covid-19 has changed the world of sports. As these challenging times require observance of compulsory restrictions and never seen before laid down protocols; it was extremely difficult for the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) which is known for being special in various sports streams, to keep pace in its sports-related activities. However, it is heartening to see that defying all challenges; the force has done exceedingly well in various sports disciplines in the last few months.
Even the 2020 Olympics were affected due to the pandemic. Participation in sports and exercises, typically regarded as healthy activities, were also hotly debated. The Covid-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have very considerable effects on the sporting world as well as on the physical and mental well-being of the people around the world including the sportsmen.
ITBP has been in a buzz for more than a year since January 2020 till now, for its contribution towards support to the government in Covid-19 countermeasures. Though the Force faced many challenges due to various challenging circumstances that emerged due to the pandemic, it served the countrymen in the most challenging conditions by contributing to various corona related response mechanisms. The ITBP had established the first-ever 1000 bedded quarantine facility in Chhawla, New Delhi, maintained the supply chain in the far-flung areas in the lockdown phases, prepared face masks and PPE kits etc, and also dedicated ITBP Referral Hospital, Greater Noida to the serving and retired Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Central Police Organizations (CPOs) personnel and their family members.
ITBP- world’s largest covid care facility
The ITBP also managed the world’s largest covid care facility – the 10,000 bedded Sardar Patel Covid Care Centre and Hospital, Radha Soami Beas, Chhatarpur, New Delhi for more than 7 months. In the meantime, the Force lost 13 brave hearts in the line of duty due to corona infection.
The challenges due to different standard restrictions etc as explained as ‘new normal’ in terms of guidelines for preventing the spread of Covid-19 pandemic did not deter the determination of Himveers of ITBP especially in the field of sports. The force has over the past few months have won laurels from the field of sports which reflects the high morale, motivation, inspiration and dedication of the players.
The ITBP sportsmen have excelled in the field of sports. ITBP has been greatly known for its excellence in adventure sports. Crest of the Force epitomizes the Force motto- Shaurya, Dridhata, Karmanishtha. Adventure and dare-devilry are the required professional skills for the ITBP and therefore from its ranks come the world-class mountaineers who have scaled many Himalayan peaks.
Till 2021, the ITBP has been successfully completed 220 mountaineering expeditions which is a record. In the year 2020, the ITBP completed two challenging mountaineering expeditions to Mount Leo Pargil (22,222 ft) on 31 August and Mount Gangotri II (21,615 ft) on 26 September when the Covid-19 pandemic in India was at its peak. Such a feat can only be achieved by ITBP mountaineers when they were able to give such an inspiring message from some of the top Himalayan mountain peaks to the entire world in difficult times of pandemic spread across the globe.
On 20 December 2020, Manisha Maun, a member Central Boxing team of ITBP won Gold Medal in the Boxing world cup at Cologne, Germany in the 57 KG weight category, defeating compatriot Sakshi in the finals. Top Boxers of India were in the camp in Italy and from there, they proceeded for the world cup at Cologne (Germany). Manisha has also been selected in the elite women team to represent India in the international Boxing tournament ‘Boxam’ at Castellion, Spain from 1 to 7 March 2021.
On 22 January 2021, the ITBP Ice Hockey team won the 10th National Ice Hockey Championship trophy in Gulmarg, J and K defeating UT Ladakh with a scoreline of 5-1 in the finals. The top 8 national teams participated in the Championship organized by the Ice Hockey Association of India. The ITBP Ice Hockey team also finished as runners up at 3 reputed tournaments- Fire and Fury Cup, Ladakh LG Cup and Khelo India Championships.
The ITBP Wushu team performed exceedingly well at the 29th Senior National Wushu Championship in Chandigarh. ITBP players won 7 medals including 3 gold medals (In women’s 45, 56 and 70 KG categories), 3 silver medals (In women’s 52 and 56 KG categories) and in men’s 85 KG category, and 1 bronze medal in men’s +90 KG. In women 56 KG, Bidiyapati Chanu won gold and Sanyogita Singh won the silver medal. Priyanka won Gold Medal in the 45 KG weight category. In the 70 KG category, Meneka Devi won the gold medal. Harish won a silver medal in the men’s 85 KG category. In the 52 KG, Choba Devi won the silver medal. In the +90 weight category, Pradeep won a bronze medal. The women’s team won the championship trophy while the ITBP team secured overall 3rd position in the Championship.
At the second edition of ‘Khelo India’ winter games in Gulmarg, J & K, ITBP skiers Prince Kumari and Babita won gold and silver medals in women’s 10 Km cross country. Prince Kumari also won a gold medal in a 5 Km cross country silver medal in women’s 1.4 Km sprint race. The ITBP won 2 gold and 2 silver medals in the games. At the national biathlon in Gulmarg, ITBP women won 1 Gold and 1 Silver medal in 7.5 Km cross country.
Karambir, a player of the central Judo team of ITBP selected to represent India in Asian Oceania Judo Championship 2021 to be held in Kyrgyzstan from 5th to 10th April 2021.
Raveshwar Singh Rana, a player central equestrian team won 2 silver medals at National Equestrian Championship, Dressage held in New Delhi from 3 to 10 January 2021. Amit Chhetri won a bronze at the National Tent Pegging equestrian meet in New Delhi.
Ph. Sonia Devi, player of the Central Water Sports team won 1 Gold medal in the 16th National Cano Marathon Championship held at Bhopal, MP from 16 to 18 January 2021.
Vidhya Rani, Anjali and Jasprit, players of the central women wrestling team won 1 bronze medal each (Total 3 bronze medals) at 23rd Senior National Wrestling Championship held at Agra, UP from 29 to 31 January 2021.
Such achievements by ITBP sportspersons are exemplary especially in the testing times of Covid-19. The ITBP won 1 Gold medal at International Championship, 6 Gold, 6 Silver and 5 Bronze medals in National Championships, 2 Gold and 3 Silver in Khelo India while 3 Silver at various Ice Hockey championships. Out of these 26 medals, 17 have been won by women personnel of the ITBP.
Since most of the sports activities were halted or postponed due to pandemic, the ITBP sportsmen by virtue of hard work and determination have been able to spread the message of camaraderie, sportsmanship and excellence which truly reflect resilience and fighting spirit of Himveers of the force. ITBP is known for its highly acknowledged sports capabilities and it has once again proved its mettle in the field of sports in the challenging covid era by claiming many medals at designated levels.