[India], Jun 2 (ANI): After two decades a Kashmiri girl, Inayat Farooq, created history when she participated in the senior national level hockey championship, organised by Hockey India and Jammu and Kashmir Hockey Association.
Inayat, who hails from Kralpora Tehsil Chadoora, Budgam, is a final year student of the Government Women's College in Srinagar. The girl from a middle-class family has now become an idol for budding hockey players in the state.
"Before college, I was hardly into sports because there was no support from parents and school and I too wasn't that interested. When I joined college I saw different games being played. I saw the field and it inspired me to play," Inayat told ANI.
"I started hockey in college. Earlier I had never played hockey or even knew the game existed. I have learned everything here. Divisional sports officer supported and coached me. It helped to clear national trials. Before that, I had never left home and my parents were against it. But eventually, the coaches and I convinced them," she said.
The hockey player has been participating in all local tournaments but due to lack of good infrastructure, including synthetic hockey turf - a long pending demand of the association, Inayat cannot practice properly. Despite all odds she worked hard and proved her skills, becoming the first female player from the Valley to participate in senior national hockey championship after twenty years.
"When I returned after playing nationals I was very happy. Before that, I had never stepped out of my state. My family members were delighted. The first national took place in Bangalore. When I reached there I realised I had to work very hard as my game was nothing," she said.
"I promised myself to improve and it took me a year. Then I joined the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports (NSNIS) coaching camp in Patiala and completed a certificate course in health and fitness in 2017. In 2018, I again went for national trails in Jammu," Inayat added.
Following her participation, more girls are showing interest in sports and especially in hockey. Inayat has won a number of awards and medals for her sport, but her aim is to represent India and play at international level.
"In future, if my game improves, I want to represent India and play at the international level. I want to become a coach someday and improve the game in Jammu. I coach at a private school now because I want to promote the game," she said.
Inayat's coach Tijender Singh said, "We are getting good results in just a year. A number of girls are playing and their game is improving. If we give our time to them, provide necessary facilities, arrange camps it will benefit them to go on and play at the national level."
"At the national or senior national level, there were no Kashmiri girls. But from the past two years, our girls have started participating at the national level and in senior national level camps," he added. (ANI)