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Teaching skill of self-defence to Kashmir girls

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A humble and kind girl belonging to a small family of Drabgam Pulwama invests great passion towards belt wrestling. Due to her utmost dedication, she was able to become national and international athlete. Rashida Simnani has won bronze medal in National Belt Wrestling at 62nd National level school games organised by National School Games Federation of India at Pune city of Maharashtra and silver medal in international taekwondo championship (India).

As girls from rural areas always face difficulties in pursuing career in sports, Rashida too faced various hurdles while breathing the life of sports but she was very passionate, fearless and determined towards belt wrestling that enabled her to get praiseworthy landmarks and awards.

She started her journey in the field of sports when she was in 8th standard at Maxwell Secondary School Pulwama where her physical teachers recognised her talents and provides her the support and right training. She got her maiden selection in 2016 for under-19 National Baseball Tournament held at Chandigarh where she played the game with full zeal. After that, she got selected in belt wrestling in 2017 at Pampore Higher Secondary Institute and it was the first time, she played belt wrestling and was attached to the game. Due to her good performance in said game, she obtained selection for National Belt Wrestling held at Ahmadnagar Maharashtra where she bagged bronze medal among 14 players from Jammu and Kashmir. Then she got second chance for baseball national tournament held at Chandigarh in 2018. In the same year, she represented Al Jawad Sports Academy at Delhi on third International taekwondo championship and bagged silver medal. In 3rd International Taekwondo championship, she participated as senior female above 68 kg kyuragi from India. She was also selected for certificate course at Sports Authority of India (NSIS) Patiala in health and fitness.

Due to her best achievements and awards, Dr. Haseeb Drabu – Former finance minister, labour, employment and culture felicitated her and wished great success to her sports career.

To her surprise, she got job order as she was appointed as coach at Women Degree College M.A Road Srinagar on contractual basis for one year. During that time, she mastered the art of self-defence in female folks. She uploaded the practise sessions and training classes regularly on social media especially on instagram. She guided the learners of belt wrestling with fine training and master class techniques. During her stay at said college as coach, she pursued B.A course. She did not leave girls from South Kashmir disappointed as she organised various events at Pulwama related with belt wrestling in which she trained more than 200 students with the timely help from youth services and sports.

In 2017, when mysterious braid choppers were terrorising the entire Kashmir, she felt the need of providing training to female folks about self-defence. In this regard, she took an initiative by giving right and accurate training of Martial arts and self-defence to girl students in more than 10 local schools of district Pulwama. When she was asked about the relation between self-defence and belt wrestling, she asserted that belt wrestling is a part of martial arts and self-defence in which one has to grab a belt and put the opponent down on the mat.

Her journey, however, is not smooth as she faces lot of obstacles and oppositions but she keeps her passion alive all the time. First, her parents felt offended and did not support her but latter they understood and identified her of talents. A girl from rural area participating in belt wrestling is not a cakewalk. She faces storm of opposition from pessimistic people in society. Her self-esteem and endurance towards sports is powerful. She believes that one needs to struggle and should never give up. She always inspired and guided the learners about the positivity of life by stating that all we need is to be bold, active and hopeful in our life and never behave like a victim in every space of time. She always wants young girls from rural areas to be empowered and be given freedom of choice so that they can surmount any challenge.

The most wonderful and amazed feature of her sports career is that she was not trained by any special coach or trainer as there is no coach for wrestling in J&K. She had performed all events on her own. She used to watch videos of well-known wrestlers like Sushil Kumar Solanki, Navjot Kaur and Divya Kakran and learned the game well. She only wants a qualified wrestling coach so that she can open her own club for wrestling training in valley and continue her sports career in wrestling. She has reached out to the Authority of Sports Council of India to reach out to the unsung athletes of rural areas so that their efforts and talents did not go unnoticed and unharnessed.

She wants to give all credit of her success to her family, coaches and friends who always inspired and motivated her. Her ultimate aim is to represent India and to clinch gold medal in Olympics. Wish her best of luck.

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