Tajamul Islam is the youngest world kickboxing champion but her fight is far from over.
The 8-year-old posted a video message on the social media on Wednesday urging the Jammu and Kashmir government to revamp the academy for athletes in the state. This four-minute long video highlighting the poor training conditions went viral on social media.
As this small champion hopes that the state government will wake up to her pleas, India Today caught up with Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu to comment on the video. "She is a small kid, I don't know how she has been guided. Her coach must have guided her," said Drabu to India Today.
Islam in this video shows how she has no access to proper mats for practice, her academy's tinned roof leaks and the floors that have pot holes. Responding to the viral video, the state finance minister said, "The fact is that the state has gone through a lot in the past 27-28 years and the sports facilities were used by the forces who used to stay here. The Bakshi Stadium was with the Army and CRPF forces, it was recently opened to public. There is no denying the fact that sports infrastructure has been damaged in all kinds of activities that have happened there. We have been making all efforts to upgrade it, it can't come overnight," added Haseeb Drabu, J-K FM
FUNDS FOR SPORTS
In spite of all the odds, Islam won a gold medal in world junior kickboxing in Italy last year, around same time when Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti had urged PM Narendra Modi to increase the sports funds for the state.
The BJP which has a coalition government with the PDP in the state earmarked Rs 75 lakh for the sports facilities in this year's Union budget. The PM additionally rolled out a Rs 80,000 crore special package for the state in November 2015.
But clearly the bureaucratic hurdles continue to act as huddles for the young champions like Islam, who are given just assurances.
"The focus of this government has been youth engagement because that is the real centre of activity and for that purpose more infrastructure will be built. I think enough funding has come from the Centre. Rs 80,000 crore were given. It is not been even 6 months that the package has started. We need time to build up these things. It doesn't come overnight," said Drabu.
Interestingly, Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel while speaking to the media on Thursday said that he will write a letter to the Jammu and Kashmir CM to ensure that Islam gets all the facilities that she needs.