She has been grappling with opponents on the mat and circumstances outside but Kashmiri wrestler Nahida Nabi refuses to let go of her ambition, which is not limited to medals in big tournaments.
She wants “Beti Ko Pahalwan Banao (Make daughters wrestlers)” added to the government’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” (Save daughters, teach daughters) campaign.
Nabi, who competed in her maiden national championship only last year but ended without any medal, hails from Ganderbal in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is currently under a communication lockdown after being stripped of its special status.
The situation had a direct impact on her as official communication of an ongoing tournament here reached her late and she scrambled for a taxi to ensure that she didn’t miss out.
“I got the speed post seven days (after it was sent) but I was thrilled to read the contents about my participation,” Nabi said on the sidelines of the ‘Mission Dosti Maha Dangal’, an event in which over 40 wrestlers from India, Georgia, Iran and Cuba are currently competing here.
“We (her family) have financial problems to deal with. (But) my mother and brother support me fully at every step. It was hard to reach here. I have spent Rs 8000,” she claimed.
And winning a medal is not the only thing on her mind after making it here.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji gave the slogan of ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao but I want to add Beti Ko Pahalwan Banao to it, so that the girls in Kashmir valley can chase and fulfil their dreams,” she said.
“Please ensure that it reaches Prime Minister Modi,” added the grappler, who is in her early 20s and a post-graduate student.
She also sought help to build a team in the state.
“Parents need to give space to their daughters to take to sports, which has great scope now. I want to appeal to girls in Kashmir to come out, play whatever you want to and make everyone proud. They should utilise their energies in sports and fulfill their dreams,” she said.
“I appeal to government and the sports council to help me in setting up a women’s team in the state, which can play at national and international level to chase and fulfil our dreams,” she added.
A former kabaddi player, Nabi said she is “determined to represent the country and play at the international level” at some point in her career.
The prominent Indian wrestlers competing at the ongoing event are Asian Games bronze-medallist Mousam Khatri, and national champion Sanjeet.
The winning wrestlers will get a cash prize of Rs two lakh. In all, 22 bouts have been scheduled by the organisers.