Jabeena Akhter, Jammu and Kashmir's first female wushu champion, wushu in jammu and kashmir, jammu and kashmir, wushu champion, women in wushu, women empowerment in jammu and kashmir

Jabeena Akhter: The Personification of Women Empowerment in Jammu and Kashmir

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

Jabeena Akhter, Jammu and Kashmir's first female wushu champion, wushu in jammu and kashmir, jammu and kashmir, wushu champion, women in wushu, women empowerment in jammu and kashmir

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 Akhter, Jammu and Kashmir's first female wushu champion, wushu in jammu and kashmir, jammu and kashmir, wushu champion, women in wushu, women empowerment in jammu and kashmir

 

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 Akhter, Jammu and Kashmir's first female wushu champion, wushu in jammu and kashmir, jammu and kashmir, wushu champion, women in wushu, women empowerment in jammu and kashmir

 

Jabeena as a coach

Jabeena Akhter, Jammu and Kashmir's first female wushu champion, wushu in jammu and kashmir, jammu and kashmir, wushu champion, women in wushu, women empowerment in jammu and kashmir

 

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.

Jabeena Akhter, Jammu and Kashmir's first female wushu champion, wushu in jammu and kashmir, jammu and kashmir, wushu champion, women in wushu, women empowerment in 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 Akhter, Jammu and Kashmir's first female wushu champion, wushu in jammu and kashmir, jammu and kashmir, wushu champion, women in wushu, women empowerment in jammu and kashmir

 

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!

Isha Sharma: New Age of Taekwondo in Jammu and Kashmir

New Age of Taekwondo in Jammu and Kashmir

“One of the greatest gifts of the martial arts is that they ultimately guide us to new levels of spirituality.”Joseph Cardillo

Many sports have gained popularity in Jammu & Kashmir recently. It is not just restricted to only fun, but also creates a feeling of passion and determination and help to grow as an individual. One or the other Kashmiri youth is in the headlines always and making the entire nation proud on National and International platforms. Champions like Roopali S, Shivani Charak,etc. have risen in flourishing colors with the flowing spirit of sports in Jammu and Kashmir. Keeping the fame and game on in Cricket, Table Tennis, Football and Basketball, youth is creating their names in Martial Arts also. It is much more than a sport and its benefits are numerously improving the physical and mental health. Especially for girls, it creates a feeling of self-dependence in them.

To promote Martial Arts, Our Army organizes Kashmir Taekwondo Championships every year. Players from districts like Bandipora, Srinagar, and Baramulla participated voluntarily and showed their talent. It is so motivating to see that people actually understand the importance of sports and are encouraging each other.

 

Many champions from Kashmir have created history in Taekwondo. Atul Pangotra, A Taekwondo Coach has led Indian Taekwondo team in 18th Asian Games 2018 Jakarta, Indonesia. He is the only Indian who is a core member of Asian Taekwondo Union, Asian Taekwondo Poomsae committee and Referee Chairman Taekwondo Federation of India and Vice Chairman Poomsae Committee.  He is the first official of Taekwondo from Jammu and Kashmir who participated in Asian games also.

Isha Sharma: New Age of Taekwondo in Jammu and Kashmir

Inspired from him, recently our Kashmiri girl, Isha Sharma became the first girl to won bronze medal at National Level Taekwondo Championship organized by Bharati Vidya  Sansthan at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh A class 10th student from a village name Dhanori, Udhampur District has made the whole state proud. Isha hailed from the economically weak background but she never gave up on her dreams.  She fought with all the odds and made her way. Being a topper in academics also she has equally balanced her sports and academic life. Her parents and teachers are so proud of her and she gave all the credits of her success to them only.

Isha Sharma: New Age of Taekwondo in Jammu and Kashmir

When asked how she felt after this achievement, she replied, “I am very happy to attain such success in a national level event. Whatever I have achieved so far is just because of my family’s constant support. Though my families is not well of still my father, who is only a driver by profession and my mother never discouraged me to take up Taekwondo as a player. In fact, they always encouraged me to excel in the game.”

 

We at New Age Kashmir congratulate our rising taekwondo star, Isha Sharma, for her first-hand victory. This is just the beginning of a bright future ahead. May more children inspire from her passion and work towards achieving their dreams.

Shivani Charak: The Journey to Success

Jammu and Kashmir along with its beauty is a place of hardships as well. It is beyond arguable that life is a little hard in here as compared to the rest of our country. Children are thus naturally headstrong and strong-willed here because they know that Hard Work is the Key to Success. Every day we are amazed by the achievements of our youth, their valor and strength to fight the odds and win the hearts of millions. We have had inspirations like Nadiya Nighat (J & K’s first female football coach), Iqra Rasool (the brave woman cricketer), Irtiqa Ayoub (the senior Rugby Player), Tajamul Islam (the kickboxing champ), and many more that it is truly hard to keep count of.

One such youngster among our rising champions is Shivani Charak, the golden sport climber of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

17 year old Shivani belongs to the humble town of Dharmal in Jammu. She is currently a student of Senior high school (Class 12th). In the initial stages of her career as a climber, Shivani battled with cancer, however it did not stop her from continuing to pursue her dream of becoming a renowned climber. She pays due credit to her coach at Shining Star Academy for his continuous support in shaping her to reach where she is today.

 

 Shivani Charak, climbers of Jammu and Kashmir, climber. boulderiong, shivani cliumber, jammu and kashmir

 

Journey of a climber within Shivani

Sport Climbing is a form of rock climbing that relies on permanent anchors fixed to the rock for protection. It has seen a transition from requiring physical strength to needing more of logical thinking. When climbing a wall or a rock, one has to be tactical and efficient. In this light, Shivani has gained her confidence through hard training and continuous practice. Having full support from her family, she practiced with other climbing aspirants and her coach in a school, the only one in Jammu and Kashmir that has a 40 feet tall wall to practice climbing. And with time, she achieved one goal at a time, climbing the stairs to success one by one.

 

Shivani Charak, climbers of Jammu and Kashmir, climber. boulderiong, shivani cliumber, jammu and kashmir

 

Achievements so far

  1. In the year 2015 she became the National Champion in Speed climbing besides winning a bronze medal in Bouldering.
  2. In 2016 & 2017, Shivani won 7 Gold & 4 Silver medals in North Zone and National competitions. (She was sent to Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia for training after her achievements in the above years.)
  3. In the beginning of 2018, Shivani was chosen by Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), New Delhi, to represent India in 18th Asian Games to be held at Jakarta-Palembang in Indonesia in September, where she achieved the 11th spot.
  4. She was then selected by IMF for representing the country in the forthcoming Asian Youth Championship to be held at Chongqing in China from 1st to 4th November, 2018 where she secured 9th rank.

Shivani Charak, climbers of Jammu and Kashmir, climber. boulderiong, shivani cliumber, jammu and kashmir, imf, mountaneering

It is eminent to mention that Shivani has been improving her game with every competition. She accepts her results like a challenge and work harder the next time. Her progress can be termed as a pre Olympic preparation. And good performance in these competition will facilitate Shivani’s selection for the Olympic Games to be held in Japan in April, 2020.

 

Shivani Charak, climbers of Jammu and Kashmir, climber. boulderiong, shivani cliumber, jammu and kashmir, imf, mountaneering

 

“In an interview with JK Media, Jammu & Kashmir, Shivani mentions that it would be much relevant for aspiring and struggling climbers of the state if a wall was to be built by the authorities. She says that it becomes hard for her and others to travel to Delhi for practice as continuous travelling hinders with their studies. If Jammu & Kashmir is to have a  professional climbing wall of its own, it would be better for them and the upcoming generation of sport climbers.”

 

Shivani Charak has internationally made a mark on the sport of Climbing & Bouldering. Facing various challenges in all her competitions has improved her game and increased her confidence. At New Age Kashmir, we salute her strength and hard work and hope she inspires more girls to participate in climbing, a sport generally stereotyped to be a male’s domain. We wish her lots of luck and power to continue breaking stereotypes, working hard to achieve big and make India prouder by achieving a place in Olympics 20’.

Fame & Game: Women for cricket in Kashmir

‘Breaking the glass ceiling’ is not just a phrase but it also implies breaking the barriers and moving out of your comfort zone. It takes lots of efforts and courage to step outside the certain norms that have been set by society, especially for women, to follow their dreams.

One such Ideal example is of Roopali Slathia, first woman cricket coach of Jammu & Kashmir who has completed the level- B course organized by BCCI.  A co-author of the book ‘Rising spell in Women’s Cricket’ and a doctorate in Philosophy, Slathia is coming with flying colors in every field.

Though we can’t ignore the fact it is definitely not easy for a girl with the cricket bat in her hand and moves out alone. But if you have a supportive father like hers, who always encourage chasing your ambitions, what else do you need?! Sports directly or indirectly help you to grow as a person, teach you proper discipline, freedom of expression and increase your self-esteem. It takes a lot of guts for a female to choose sports as a career option due to the stereotype associated with it.

Roopali, at the age of 14, started playing cricket in 1996, the time when the concept of Women Cricket was not that popular. But she has already made her mind and was ready to take all the challenges that come with Not-So-traditional career choices. In the early stage of her career, facilities like the infrastructure, playing grounds and coaching were not up to the mark. There were hardly two centers at that time. But slowly things improved, post her selection for the sub-junior national game. She joined NIS Cricket Academy and completed her diploma in Sports Coaching in 2006. She played till 2010. In her 15 years long career, she got selected twice for the India camp; also she had played a number of zonal matches. One of the biggest achievement was her 10 years of Captaincy for the Jammu and Kashmir team.

Roopali Slathia in Kashmir cricket player.

Then she decided to step into professional coaching in 2011, she wanted to help the youth of the Kashmir and guide them through the way. She started working with Jammu and Kashmir cricket association with the ultimate goal is to take the team to a certain level where the entire country will be proud. She emerged as a catalyst for many youngsters and truly an inspiration for all who dream big. When asked what is cricket for you, she replied, “Cricket, for me, is oxygen.  When I enter the cricket field my energy doubles.” She also believes that the love for the sport sooner or later will get you the results.  You just need to get out your comfort zone to make that dream turn into reality.

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Our Kashmir is undoubtedly the land of talent and people are promoting the youth of the Valley. They are making our country proud in every way and in every field possible. On the way to success, there are a lot of ups and downs, but giving up is never the option.