Following four months of unrest, violence and misery, a 7-year-old kid has brought moments of joy and pride to the Kashmir Valley.
Hashim Mansoor, 7, from Kashmir’s Bandipora district won a gold medal at the Asian Youth Karate Championships being held in New Delhi. He clinched the gold in the sub-junior category (below 25kg) after defeating his Sri Lankan opponent in the final.
Expressing delight at winning the title for India, Hashim said, “I am thrilled to win gold for my country”.
However, Hashim’s journey to victory was no cake walk. The karate kid had to stay away from school for four months as his hometown suffered the heat of unrest after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in an encounter, says a Times of India report.
However, despite curfews and stone-pelting, the 7-year-old kid somehow managed to turn up at a local karate academy every day.
“Remaining away from school for many months offered me enough time to practise the sport of karate. It was perhaps luck that I got so much time to practice under my coach,” Hashim said.
Hashim’s training was sponsored by his coach, Faisal Ali, who runs a small karate academy in the unrest-hit Bandipora.
Hashim is not the only pupil trained by Ali who became a champion. Eight-year-old Tajamul Islam, who secured first place at the world kickboxing championship in Italy, also trained under him.
“Hashim had a passion for sports for as long as I can remember. So he joined the local sports academy to learn the art of karate and his coach funded him for the AYKC,” said Hashim’s father Mansoor Shah.
Participants from 19 countries took part in the tournament organised by the All India Youth Karate Federation. The boy will now represent India in the World Karate Championship in Europe in September 2017.