Female athletes from Kashmir struggle with frequent lockdowns

“I now practice in my small rooms with a little bit warm up. My game is suffering from a lot of difficulties these days, “Nairah, a national Boxing Champion from Kashmir complaints as the valley goes to over 10 months of lockdown.

Many Kashmiri athletes struggle to practice their sport with frequent lockdowns shutting down the valley with restrictions to step out on the road.

Nairah practising in her house due to lockdown

Nairah missed two tournaments in August last year after India scrapped the region’s statehood and semi-autonomy. Since 5th August, Kashmir is under strict measures to curb anti-India sentiments.

With new unrest surging between civilians and Indian military, Hopes of getting proper training becomes bleak for 14-year old Nairah.

The new Corona lockdown which began in March-end put all hope in vain for athletes who were desperately waiting for relaxations. some of the national players have shifted from the valley to pursue their dreams.

Soliha, an engineer from Srinagar makes sure her team practises every day to keep them fit for the game. Soliha is the coach and captain of JK women’s rugby team, an unpopular game in the valley.

Soliha practising rugby in her lawn

“During this time I only work for my fitness. I do a lot of cardio and mix that with floor exercises at my own level. I and my teammates train with each other through a webinar to get the feeling of ground. But rugby is a team sport we definitely need the physical support of each other which is not possible right now Side,” Soliha Yousef told Maktoob.

The female athletes have to face social scrutiny and negligence as their aspirations stay below the bar of importance in the war-torn valley.

“The world is facing lockdown for the last 3 or 4 months but we people in Kashmir are facing the same situation since august last year. So it’s pretty obvious how adversely it has affected our lives,” lamented Sarah Ayjaz, National level basketball player.

“Sports is my lifeline. And I can say this because, in spite of the busy schedule of my academic calendar for the last few years, I definitely would always manage some time for my sports activities.”

“But as of now, everything has come to a standstill, and so are my sports activities. No practice, no dribbling, no skating, nothing whatsoever. All the learning has stopped,” Sarah lust out.

Srinagar’s lone indoor stadium has been converted into quarantine centre. The total number of Covid-19 cases in the state has increased to 2,446. The death toll has climbed to 28. At least 927 people have recovered from the disease.

Shar-e-Kashmir Indoor Stadium which is converted into Quarantine centre.

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