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The First Kashmiri Girl To Represent India At The World Kickboxing Championships

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Srinagar: In a quiet corner of north Kashmir’s Bandipore town, kicks and punches are flying. Tajamul Islam is pulling crowds and drawing boisterous applause as she knocks down opponents.

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All of eight, Tajamul will possibly be the youngest participant from India in the forthcoming world kick-boxing championship to be held in Italy this November. “She is the youngest Kashmiri ever to participate in any international event. I am sure she will bring laurels to the state and the country,” coach Faisal Ali Dar said proudly.

“It is probably the first time in country that a girl of her age is participating in a world championship. She is a gifted player,” Dar added.

Tajamul was selected for the 2015 national kick-boxing championship held at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi, where she won gold and was recently nominated for the world championship.

Dar had noticed a spark in Tajamul when she was only six. “I was amazed by her confidence, her skills and aggression and I soon released that she would make a mark in the sport.”

Tajamul wanted to be a “fighter” all along and she was fortunate to have Dar’s sports academy in her neighbourhood, where around 2,900 aspirants of all ages – less than half of whom are girls – are enrolled.

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The eight-year-old’s aggression comes through in her words too. “Martial arts is my passion but I want to become a doctor so that I will break the bones of ruffians and later treat them myself,” she said.

Tajamul is grateful to her parents for allowing her to follow her passion. “They (parents) are so excited with my success,” she said.

Tajamul is a student of the local Army Goodwill School, without whose help she was unlikely to have packed a punch. “Most of the expenses that I have incurred on her training and travel outside has been borne by the army. I am a poor man and they (army) have assured me that it will bear all the expenses of her travel to Italy,” said her father Ghulam Mohammad Lone, who works as a driver in a private company.

Tajamul is the third of five children and her four siblings include two brothers and two sisters.

It was Tajamul’s elder sister who got her enrolled at the Dar’s academy after speaking to their parents who were extremely supportive of the idea. “I don’t differentiate between my daughters and sons and I want them to excel in every field,” father Lone said.

Tajamul is already a sensation in Bandipore, a former militancy stronghold that has turned into a hub of counter-insurgents. “She has created quite a stir in the town with her performances and there are many who approach her for her autographs,” said coach Dar.

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