By Farah Jamil
‘Champions keep playing until they get it right’ – Billie Jean King
22-year-old Shahida Abbasi from Quetta proved this quote right by becoming Pakistan’s first international female Kata Karate player.
An athlete cannot run with money in his/her pockets. He/She must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head – just like Shahida Abbasi. She has defied all odds of the society by pursuing Karate as her profession.
Shahida started learning Karate almost 12 years ago, owing it primarily to her dedication and hard work. Abbasi won 11 national and international medals for both the club and the country; a feature that makes her a cut above the rest.
“I have participated only four times at the international level, twice in the premier league, once in South-Asian games and once in Baku for the Islamic Games”, told Shahida. Abbasi was recently crowned South Asian champion of her discipline.
Shahida belongs to the Hazara community in Balochistan; coming from a background which lacks facilities and is traditionally dominated by males, it was not easy for Shahida to achieve her goal.
Through her hard work, she has not made just her parents but the entire country proud.
While talking about the challanges to achieve her dream, Shahida said, “Boys of my town used to tease me a lot, according to them girls worth nothing especially when it comes to sports.”
“I have done my BA. Now, my purpose in life is Karate. I am very serious about it”, said Shahida.
Shahida’s parents played an important role in giving her the place where she is standing now. “My father has been supporting me since the start and has been bracing to the cause of promoting Karate amongst young girls ever since”, told Shahida.
She is currently honing her skills in the martial art of Sholokan. She just hopes to get support from the govt. Meanwhile, she will continue to sharpen her shotokan skills, setting her sights on more wins. She believes that there’s still room for improvement and that she can compete with the world’s best and come out as a victorious sports woman.
This Baloch girl has literally broken stereotypes by her hard work; no doubt that athletes like Abbasi are putting Pakistan on the martial arts map.
The most admiring thing about Shahida is that she has not kept the art of Karate to herself, but rather has decided to reach out to other girls in her community. She is currently teaching the sport to other passionate young girls in a Karate academy in the small town of Hazara.
Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her. – Mia Hamm
She praised the role of Pakistan Karate Federation also for supporting her against all odds to achieve her life-long dreams.
Yes, Shahida Abbasi sets an example and proves that there is no lack of talent in Pakistan and if provided with effective help and support from the govt she could achiever more in life.
Shahida’s message for the young generation can simply be defined in her words, “Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work and dedication. Keep your dreams alive. ”
Story first published: 27th September 2017