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Pakistan’s youngest taekwondo athlete has eyes on the Olympics

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Ayesha Ayaz

Ayesha Ayaz, Pakistan’s youngest ever taekwondo athlete who won the bronze medal in the 27kg category during the 7th Fujairah Open International Taekwondo Championship in UAE, says she wants to take part in the Olympics to make her country proud.

She was talking at an event organised in her honour at Kanju after she returned home from UAE.

Aysha’s parents and relatives, elders, district sports officer, taekwondo players and civil society members participated in the event.

The eight-year-old Swat-based girl also cut a cake to celebrate her victory. She said she was excited and proud of her success and dedicated her medal to Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“My next target is Olympic games for which I am working hard and practicing daily under my father’s supervision. I also expect the government will assist me in preparing for the mega event,” she said.

Ayaz Naik, Ayesha’s father, who also remained international taekwondo athlete and runs a training academy in Swat, said Ayesha had high talent for taekwondo and if the government helped him in grooming her talent he was confident she would be an international star in the game.

“Winning bronze in the G-1 is not an easy job and her victory means she got tremendous talent and if it is polished on professional lines she will, no doubt, emerge an international star for Pakistan,” he said, adding he was coaching her and other girls of the area to represent Pakistan at international level.

Mr Naik said G-1 event in taekwondo was equal to the world cup of cricket and football.

However, until now no elected representative visited her to encourage or appreciate her, he lamented.

Elders congratulated the youngest Pakistani athlete and said they expected of the government to honour her for her tremendous performances.

The story was first published in Dawn, February 10th, 2019

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