Over a period of time, women and girls in our beautiful Jammu and Kashmir have been able to witness and experience the joy of playing in a team or achieving a personal best in sports. Women like Ankita Raina and Afshan Ashiq have proved that their background, however troublesome, is in the past is not a hindrance for their future. And young girls like Tajammul Islam have proved that no matter the age, gender or background- sports are a medium of empowerment for everyone. Women and girlsa like them have made females performing in sports a common sight. Their achievements give us a chance to celebrate the rising number of females players in all the sports.
Meet and Greet Jabeena Akhter- Kashmir’s first female Wushu Champion
Let us all celebrate the achievements of Kashmir’s first female Wushu Champion, JABEENA AKHTER. Though, Jabeena grew up in an environment which restrains girls from dreaming big but the fierce player knew no boundaries. She is a bronze medallist in the Wushu International Championship, held in Armenia last year (2017) making her the first Kashmiri woman champion in this form of martial art. Jabeena’s preferred martial art form is popularly known as Chinese Kungfu and is a full contact sport.
Inspiration for a career in Wushu
Jabeena began her career with playing cricket but chose Wushu as her profession. Why?
She says that she plays cricket because she loves it, and on the other hand, after taking inspiration from wrestler Geeta Phogat, she found a driving passion towards Wushu. For Jabeena, Wushu is a game of power, strength and flexibility, and most precisely, a way to make one (especially girls) safe.
She started playing in 2007 and made her way through the state, national and then to the international level competitions.
Jabeena as a coach
Akhter hails from a small village Qazipora at Tangmarg district of Baramulla and is the General Secretary of Wushu Association in Baramulla district. She’d set up this academy with the idea to make girls strong and give them a safer environment. Jabeena loves serving as a coach to a game she is highly passionate about. Her initiative has introduced the benefits of the game to girls. It has improved the number of girl participants in Wushu which was comparatively low earlier. At her Wushu Academy, girls train in a strengthening environment which was a big challenge at other sports academies of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the biggest challenge as a coach is to overcome social barriers and financial crunches. She confesses to have not been able to participate in Hong Kong in 2017 due to financial issues. But it did not break her. She says that her priority is not only to succeed but also so to depart as much knowledge about the game as she can.
Jabeena is currently working hard for the International Wushu Championship next year, slated to be held in China later in November. We at New Age Kashmir wish her all the luck and hope that the state will look into the financial matters of her academy which will ultimately help her perform well in her personal performances. We are proud of her valour to face the odds and inspire more girls to take up wushu as a career. Jabeena Akhter is the personification of empowerment for the girls of Jammu and Kashmir and a big reason of pride for the country. Kudos to her!