By Saher Iqbal Ashawari
SRINAGAR: Mir Uqba Mansoor was just 14 years old when she represented Jammu and Kashmir State at National level. At 16, she played like a professional and her team was awarded third in Oorja cup held at Bakshi stadium in the year 2017.
“Football for me is passion; there runs football in my blood. For some people playing football is just a game but for me football is a prayer. Whenever I think of football, I feel like I have something to live for. I will continue to play until my body prevents me because my love and passion for football is beyond limits. This game taught me team spirit and made my life disciplined.” Uqba said.
“Being student of medical stream and at same time sportsperson you face countless challenges. My biggest challenge was continuing football and the studies at the same time. But in my school, students were playing football and there were football players from my school, so it was part of sport in my school. For me it was challenge, keeping my studies and football at par. Because those who don’t play have to focus on only studies, but I had to focus on two things football and studies. During the day I played football and not to affect my studies, late night studies is my routine” Uqba said.
It is pertinent to mention here that Uqba is currently studying in 11th standard with Medical as well as Non Medical and, her love, passion for football is growing unruly. She Scored 91 % of marks in her recent examination at Mallinson’s Higher Secondary School.
Uqba’s parents are being supportive and never questioned her, if she practiced from morning to till late evening.
“My mother understands my passion for football, and stands with me side by side, helping me to keep playing football. I was 14 years old when I played National’s in Goa, my father and mother never stopped me from going out of the state for the game”.
“My inspiration are my coaches; Mr. Eidi Gulzar, Mr Masood, Ms Afsha who helped me when I did something wrong while playing. They inspired me to play this sport and guided me to understand this sport. They actually showed me the way to the world of sports”.
If we go ten years back, studies had the primary importance and sports were kept under locked room. But we don’t know also in the field of sports, there are countless opportunities. Now the time is changing, people are coming towards sports and embracing it with open arms. Facing challenges and grabbing opportunities.
“Every match I played whether it was division, inter school, or some league. Most of the times I have been awarded for the match.”
Uqba besides the football player, she is good at Wushu, Rugby, trekking and many other games. She has bagged number of prestigious awards in these games that include second place in Khelo India which was held in 5-12-2016 to 14-12-2016, Women football tournament 2015 Winners award of mallinson school, Participation in nationals played 2015 AIFF in Goa, AIFF grassroots leaders course under international women coach Sajid Yusuf Dar and Intikhab Alam.
Oorja cup second division participation held in Jammu, Rajya Puraskar state award 2015 through Bharat Scout and guides, 5th district rally Sonamarg 2013 in kho kho second, Best bridge crosser national adventure foundation for one beckon adventure Gulmarg (2014), best guide award 5th district rally held at Sonamarg 2013, Winners trophy Kiddo State rugby 7S festival 2013, 3rd position in J&K AMATURE cycling association in year 2014, gold medal in district Wushu championship Srinagar 2012, gold medal in 1500 meter J&K state open athletic championship in 2013, Silver medal in 400 meter J& K state open athletic championship in 2013. Sambo gold medal in year 2015.
My message for youth is, “Participation in sport and recreation develops self-esteem, self-discipline and responsibility among youth; sport encourages a positive identity, especially youth at risk. Sport also acts as “preventive medicine” and reduces health care costs.”