Just think of a few of the challenges female athletes face in a male-dominated society. They may have not only to fight in the ground but also outside the ground, against culture taboos, family restrictions, cope with training schedules and heartbreaking failures.
Aqsa Shamon is a player of kick boxing and recently won a medal in Kick Boxing World Cup Championship, not only passed through these challenges but also fought with financial crisis to participate in this mega event, which was her dream.
“I cannot afford to travel by air. Therefore, I went by road to Iran to participate in the event. It took four days to reach Hamdedan City of Iran where Kick Boxing World Cup was held from December 11-15, 2018 in which more than 1,200 players across the world has participated,” said Aqsa Shamon.
She went there on her own and the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) had refused to provide them any support especially financial. She was also accompanied by another female Farzana Batool and eight male players.
Shamon won bronze medal while Farzana Batool won silver medals for Pakistan and the whole team collectively won three silver and seven bronze medals in two different categories for Pakistan.
“We were very happy with our performance. We won total 10 medals in a tournament in which we had participated on our own,” Shamon said adding that they were expecting appreciation and support from PSB and the government. They, however, were disappointed when they were totally ignored.
Team manager Zahid Rasheed said that all arrangements of participating in the said international event was done by themselves, neither any government or private organisation facilitated them, adding that due to lack of financial resources, we dropped four players from participating in the event.
Batool, Abdul Waris and Masab won silver medals while Ghazanfar Ali, Shamon, Khurram Majid, Abdul Wahab, Moin Khan, Mirza Habib and Sikandar Abbasi won bronze medals for Pakistan in the event.
Batool, while talking exclusively to Daily Times said, “We thought that we would be warmly welcomed on reaching home after winning 10 international medals for our country, but unfortunately not a single official even acknowledged our achievement.”
Pakistan Kick Boxing Federation has two bronze medals to its credit from 2006, World Best of the Best title along with a gold and four bronze medals from 2007, three bronze medals from 2009, four medals from 2011 in different international championships.
Team coach Waqar Haider said Prime Minister Imran Khan himself is a sportsman and players of every game have attached hopes with him.
“The government should announce rewards for players of all games who win any international medals,” he said.
Zahid Rasheed suggested that the government should make a separate board same like cricket board for kick punch related games.
“A separate board for kick punch games will make the federations accountable. The government has allotted Rs 50 crore for boxing federation who do not have even a single medal until now,” he complained.
Shamon requested PM Imran Khan to revise PSB policies and strengthen the system to encourage the talented youth of Pakistan.
Published in Daily Times, January 11th 2019.