It isnt easy to eke out a career in sports field in Kashmir. More so for aspiring women. Besides always having to deal with societal pressure, a girl trying to create a niche for herself finds it hard to get proper infrastructure and meet true promoters of sports. There arent many star attractions in women sport in the valley that upcoming sportswoman would look upto to follow their path.
In mens field, Parvez Rasools and Mehraj ud Din Wadoos have set examples for others to go their route in their bid to achieve big in the world of sports.
Of late,Sports-traditionally considered men-oriented domain-has seen the rise of some young talent among the girls to set the stage rolling.
Kabra Altaf-a multitalented sportswoman from Srinagar- has emerged as a star judo player in the state having many a medal to her name in the short career.
Judo wasnt her first love. She started off as a snow skier but official apathy wilted her passion towards the sport to turn to Judo. And it didnt take her long to find her feet to emerge as a premier judo fighter in the state.
After completing the advanced course of snow skiing in 2009, Kabra found success instantly to pocket couple of medals in national skiing competition. Medals came her way thick and fast with gold in State Skiing Championship, Gulmarg headlining her surge.
Her medal tally saw Kabra getting selected to take part in international skiing championship but was dropped at the last minute to kill her hopes of making big in snow skiing.
The snub was telling enough for Kabra to switch to Judo fighting.
Naturally talented and hardworking Kabra didnt waste much time to stamp her authority in the new arena winning a gold in inter-school Judo championship just three months into it.
It was a much needed boost early in the career for Kabra seeing her taking part in the sub-junior nationals. She won majority of state championships before representing the state in various events.
Her first medal in a big event came in 2013-14 in 52-KG category of junior nationals held at Dehradun.
She found her place in Indian team before heading to NIS Patiala for further training.
She trained there for two years and in between got bronze medal in 2015 junior nationals. She followed it with by winning the best girl player award in open J&K Judo cup.
It was going all well for Kabra but terrible knee injury pegged her back, keeping her out of the game for a long time.
"Nothing is simple or easy in life. It brings both odds and evens. One who faces and fights the odds well succeeds," Kabra told Kashmir Observer in an interview.
An 18-month long forced sabbatical ended with Kabra making a strong comeback to the ring, winning gold in the 62nd National School Games in Judo 61-KG category which she considers as her biggest achievement in life so far.
"Coming back from injury after 18-month gap and winning a gold medal in School nationals, there has been nothing more special to me than this so far, she said.
She later completed her certificate course of Judo at the NIS in 2017 and is presently practicing at IIS Sports Academy Bangalore. In her own success, she realizes her fathers dreams.
"I'm living my father's dream and trying to complete his unachieved goal of becoming successful sportsperson. Since my childhood I wanted to become a sportsperson unlike many girls who wanted to become doctors or engineers, she said.
Kabras fitness, she claims, is her strong suit and works hard to meet the set standards.
"Apart from practicing tactics and skills, it's really important for a sportsperson to be physically very fit. It means one has to be very conscious about meals and proper training, she said.
Focused Kabra is eyeing to make her mark at international level.
She wants budding sportspersons to stick to the basic moral values without compromising on achieving their goals.
"My message to budding players is that they should try to achieve their dreams but without losing basic moral values and convention, she signed off.
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