EXCLUSIVE

FEISTY LITTLE FIGHTER

When you hear a 7 year old Tajamul Islam say, “The girls of Kashmir must be granted their rights. I want all the girls to be able to achieve what I have achieved,” you can only marvel at this little girl. School LIVE brings to you an exclusive feature.

When a 7 year old girl, talks so passionately about the rights of girls, one cannot help but wonder, what fuels this determination in her? And indeed, Tajamul left all of India wondering the same, when she qualified for the International Kickboxing Championship 2016, to be held in November, in Andria, Italy, at the tender age of 7, becoming the first in the last seven years, to do so. But one must not be fooled by her innocent looks and dazzling smile, once she enters the ring, her eyes take on a menacing look, soon her feet begin to dance and her fists start flying, and soon enough, we find her opponent at the losing end.

However, this wasn’t Tajamul’s first feat, long before the appearance of such prospects she had been striving to overcome the limitations imposed by a rather conservative society and  her hometown, a secluded village in Kashmir. Tajamul, who hails from Bandipora, a quaint little village in Kashmir, had been living blissfully unaware of Kickboxing, whiling away her time, herding the goats or assisting her mother in grocery shopping, when one day, she along with her siblings, stumbled across Allis Sports Academy, founded by Fasil Ali Dar, 5th Dan Black Belt in Kickboxing.

As Tajamul and her siblings gazed into the academy, amazed by the students, practising, without any restraints, Coach Fasil noticed them peeking in. He asked the three of them to come inside and practise with the other kids. Thus began Tajamul’s journey, along with coach Fasil, to the World Kickboxing Championship. After just three months of training, in 2014, Tajamul bagged the medal for the Best Fighter at the State Championships, a feat which hasn’t been won by a girl in the last sixteen years. At the State Championships, Tajamul wowed everyone when she defeated an opponent, 8 kg heavier than herself, and was complimented by Kuldeep Handu, chief coach at the Championships, for her skills and vigour.

Coach Fasil, in conversation with School LIVE, revealed that it was Tajamul’s innate determination and fearlessness which first made him believe in her capabilities. “She fought without any restraints, I saw no trace of hesitation or shyness, particular of girls. I make her practise with both guys and girls, so that she never feels that she is any less of a fighter than a boy,” he states.

In the year 2015, Tajamul, yet again, proved her mettle by winning the gold medal at the State Championships and qualified to play the Nationals, held at Delhi, in December 2015.

At the National Kickboxing Championship, held at the Talkatora stadium, Delhi, Tajamul defeated six states and opponents nearly twice her age, to bag the gold medal in the sub junior category. As she, along with Coach Fasil, returned home, they got a call from the Boxing Federation, stating that Tajamul had been selected for the World Kickboxing Championship. What makes this achievement even more commendable, is that no girl, in the last seven years, has qualified for the World Kickboxing Championship.

Since the qualification, Tajamul’s life has drastically changed, for the better. She is now recognised all over the country, people recognise her at public places, stop her for selfies, congratulate her and appreciate her. Tajamul’s feat has not only given hope and motivation to all the girls of Kashmir, but has also inspired the young budding sportsmen of our country, to persevere and strive for success.

On the other hand, her qualification has made Tajamul focus, all the more on her training. In conversation with School LIVE, Tajamul tells us, that taking the advice of her coach, she is now working upon increasing her speed, to make herself more efficient. She further, says that her success has inspired her to strive harder, so that she may reach a point where she could help the other girls of the country, who aspire to gain success in sports.

Tajamul’s journey was not an easy one. Her father, Ghulam Mohammad Lone, a driver for a construction company, though couldn’t provide for her training, motivated her every day, to sharpen her skills. After her feat at the State Championships, Tajamul, with her sheer talent, forced the nation to notice her and admire her talent. As a result, many hands came forward to help her, she is now, supported by the Army, her school Goodwill school, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Tantray, Senior Vice-president, Kickboxing Federation of India, and Coach Fasil, founder of the Allis Sports Academy,  who had been supporting her from the get go.

Allis Sports Academy, where Tajamul practices with Coach Fasil, also trains 1600 other girls in various sports. The academy has produced 788 National Players, out of which 167 students have won National Medals. Coach Fasil takes special care to train girls and help them overcome the restraints of the society, so that they too, may practice freely and achieve success.

Tajamul’s parents and siblings too, played a very important role in her progress. Denying the social conventions imposed by the society, Tajamul’s father and mother supported her passion for the martial arts and enrolled not only her, but her four other siblings to the academy. Their constant motivation has now borne fruit, as they hold their head high and say that their daughter is the youngest player from Kashmir and India, to have ever played a Worldwide Championship.

However, both Tajamul and Coach Fasil, are determined to not let this success, hamper her studies. She, apart from being a soft spoken, joyful child, is extremely focused and has high aspirations for her future. Along with her career in kickboxing, Tajamul wishes to be a doctor. She also enjoys playing badminton and dancing, and heads a dance group in her school. Coach Fasil too, supports Tajamul in all her endeavours and remind her time and again that education is of utmost importance and must not be compromised at any cost.

Sports is one of the pillars that give a nation recognition in the international scenario and so Coach Fasil, in conversation with School LIVE says that since Tajamul had started training at such a tender age, her body and mind could be properly nurtured so as to provide her with maximum strength and agility, further enabling her to grow up to be an iconic name in Kickboxing. Both Tajamul and Coach Fasil, strive continually to set an example, for all those who aspire to make a name for themselves in the field of sports.

The team of School LIVE, wishes Tajamul, success in all her future endeavours. May she win all the laurels that she deserves.

IN THE BOX (RAPID FIRE WITH TAJAMUL)

Favourite dish: Biryani, I had it after returning from the Delhi Nationals

Favourite Actor: Shahrukh Khan, Dilwale was the last movie that I watched.

Favourite Superhero: Spiderman, but I want to be stronger than him.

What other sports do you like to play: Badminton

Hobbies: I like to dance with my friends at school

What do you want to become when you grow up: I want to be a Doctor, so that I can repair the bones of my opponents, after I break them.

Who motivated you to join kickboxing: My siblings, they also train with me at the academy.

What is the one thing that you want to improve about your technique: I want to bring more speed to my fight.

What do you want to do, if you gain success: I want to do something for the girls of Kashmir. I want them to have their rights, that they have been denied.

IN THE BOX-

Coach Fasil Ali Dar

“She has aggression in her and she isn’t shy, that’s what makes her a good fighter”

“If a girl can become a teacher or a doctor, why not a sportsperson?”

“Parents must ask their kids to focus on one sport, rather than handing them a bat, a racquet and a basketball, all together.”

“When a sportsperson represents their country in an international event, they bring recognition to the country.”

Blur: After just three months of training, in 2014, Tajamul bagged the medal for the Best Fighter at the State Championships, a feat which hasn’t been won by a girl in the last sixteen years.

July-2016