Sat, 20 Aug 2022

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], January 13 (ANI): Girls in Jammu and Kashmir are standing out by participating in sporting activities and winning medals for the country.

It is quite a common sight in the Kashmir valley to see girls practising during early mornings and evenings.

On conversing with Bilquis Mir, an international mentor for Water Sports who hails from the midtown area of Srinagar, said, "A tough lady isn't one who doesn't cry, a resilient lady is the person who cries, battles and gets up once more."She accepted that Kashmiri young women have a huge potential to contend in whatever field they are dedicated themselves to.

Jabeena Akhter, who won a bronze for the country in April last year in Wushu, shared difficulties athletes have to deal with. During her training, she had to walk many kilometres at an hour of turmoil when there was no vehicle on the street.

She said, "I couldn't even realize that I had covered so much distance to reach the practice session because of the passion towards my game".

23-year-old Sheikh Sajida, a senior rugby player, recalled the hardships that she faced in the morning practice session during the 2016 unrest and said, "I used to go to the polo ground that is situated in the heart of the city, Lal chowk and I could hardly see any civilians on the streets. I used to go to the field on my bicycle and ussed to bump into the army men on the roads".

There are associations and trainees who work with the players but these international women players who have fulfilled their dreams by reaching the highest level have set up their respective academies and given full support and training to the upcoming players from the state.

According to the statistics provided by Youth Services and Sports, there has been a considerable increase in the participation of women in different games.

In 2016 unrest, the total number of women that participated at different levels was 6,886 by December 31, 2017.

In 2017, the total number of women that participated was 7,724 till November 30.

An official from Youth Services and Sports said, "The 2016 unrest hardly affected the participation in the national games. We had sent the same number of women teams outside that we used to in previous years."Mir, who had started the Water Sports Academy in 2008, has seen a tremendous increase in the number of girls from 3 to 200 in 2017 and she feels extremely happy about it. "I train my players for the international level so that they win their national-level medals at a minimum", she said with a smile.

Sajida, who also runs rugby classes at the University of Kashmir, trains players of both genders of all age groups. Girl participation in her classes has also increased from 11 to 80 players this year. "I get immense happiness while seeing them getting trained and I do it free of cost."Akhter also runs an academy in Baramulla which she started in 2008. She has set up many Wucho clubs in different areas of the district. Every year 30 students from her academy participate in the state championship.

"In every club under my academy, at least 35 players are getting trained", she said.

Not only in Rugby, Wushu, water sports, but also cricket, football, badminton and basketball are areas where girls are showing their mettle.

Unjuman Farooq, 26, has been the first woman from India to bring the gold medal to the country in the senior category at the international Thang Ta Martial Arts championship held at Imphal, Manipur in 2011.

She has participated in 16 nationals including three Federation Cups and considers her father as her role model. She is also looking forward to achieving the status of being a Black Belt this year.

South Kashmir's Anantnag district which is mainly affected by the conflict has produced a cricket player Rubaiya Syed who recently played for the north zone women's team in an inter-zone tournament organized by BCCI in Mumbai. She has also played in the Ranji Trophy.

JammuKashmir Football Association (JKFA) has sent its first-ever girls team to participate in the 6th National under 15 championships this year.

Arifa Bilal is the first female from Jammu and Kashmir who won a gold medal in powerlifting. Apart from being the first female powerlifter gold medalist at the National level, Arifa has also won three more gold medals.

Two Sisters Sofi Sheerana and Sofi Sharmeen from Ganderbal fetched gold medals at the National as well as on state levels. Both the sisters are proud students of Thai Boxing iron fist academy and are promoting self-defence for girls in letter and spirit.

It is pertinent to mention that Jammu and Kashmir Youth Development Forum is a non-governmental organization which is functional in Kashmir for decades. The organization always stands active to work for the cause of National integration despite facing a number of threat warnings.

The said organization focused on strengthening the National interests in Kashmir and nowadays the organization is actively working for the empowerment of women in Kashmir. All the above-quoted girls were time and again promoted, helped and felicitated by the Jammu and Kashmir Youth development forum with the motive to empower them and attract more and more girls towards the mainstream in Kashmir.

The recently issued order by the lieutenant governor's administration of Jammu and Kashmir making sports personnel qualified for occupations is clearly going to focus on the choice of young women for various posts and their change will rouse different young ladies to partake in the sports and mainstream activities. (ANI)

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