By Adil Amin Akhoon
SRINAGAR: Useeba Bashir, 23 years old girl from Srinagar is the basketball player and was recently awarded best player in the summer basketball league held at indoor stadium. She started playing basketball from 2006 and in 2007 played first national in Maharashtra, when she was 14 years old.
“Basketball for me is passion, it is like oxygen for me which keeps my lungs alive. Some play for fun, but I am passionate about it and can’t resist if I see basketball lying idle in front of me. I owe everything to the basketball. Sports made my life disciplined.” Useeba said.
“Being kid and at same time sportsperson you face countless challenges. My biggest challenge was continuing basketball and the studies at the same time. But in my school, students were playing basketball and there were basketball players from my school, so it was part of sport in my school. Early in the morning, about 6 am I had to report in the basketball court and had to left at 5 pm in the evening. Normally here we start tuition at 6 am, but I reported at the same time in the basketball. For me it was challenge, keeping my studies and basketball at par. Because those who don’t play have to focus on only studies, but I had to focus on two things basketball and studies. During the day I played basketball and not to affect my studies, late night studies was my routine”Useeba said. It is important here to mention, that Useeba is currently pursuing PG in Kashmir University and, her love and passion for basketball is growing unruly.
Useeba’s deceased father was supportive and never questioned her, if she practised from morning to till late evening. “My mother understands my passion for basketball, and stands with me side by side, helping me to keep playing basketball. I was 14 years old when I played national in Maharashtra, my father and mother never stopped me from going out of the state for the nationals”.
“My inspiration is my school coach namely Gabriel, who helped me when I did something wrong while playing. He inspired me to play this sport and guided me to understand this sport. He actually showed me the way to the world of sports”.
If we go ten years back, studies had the primary importance and sports was kept under locked room. But we don’t knew 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.
From 6th class to 12th class, each day Useeba practised from 6am to 5pm. With dedication and hard work, Useeba was selected five times for the nationals, but played only three times. The other two times she couldn’t play, because of some personal problem. “Every match I played whether it was inter school, district or some league. Most of the times I have been awarded best player of the match”.
In the recent summer basketball league, 20 teams participated. There were 10 teams of girls, and Useeba was playing for team El Calor and also heading it. Useeba’s team won the league and with scoring 20 points she was awarded best player.
My message to youth is, “if you are talented and can play hard no matter what is the situation. Then just go out and play. Don’t waste your talent. I think it is sin, to waste the talent if you have got any”.