Sportswomen display talent, energy in upper Hunza

Women sports

Around 10 teams from eight villages participated in the cricket tournament, which allowed over 150 girls to showcase their talent

High Asia Herald report

Gojal (Hunza): The picturesque valley of Gojal in the Hunza district of Gilgit-Baltistan is fast becoming a talent hotspot for women’s sports. The region has already produced several talented sportswomen who have made the country proud and to see them shining as superstars in Pakistan. It has motivated other girls residing in the mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan to opt for sports as well, writes Geo channel reporter Faizan Lakhani.

A player plays a shot. Photo by Right To Play.

Hundreds of girls from various villages of Gojal in upper Hunza participated in two sports events held last week.

The Gilgit-Baltistan Girls Football League Season 3 was organized by Karishma and Sumera, the duo sisters of Al-Shams Football Club that concluded at Passu on October 7. Eight teams from Gojal participated in the event that was won by Chupursan.

The Girls Cricket Tournament was organized by Misbah Hina, a volleyball player and instructor, in collaboration with Right To Play Pakistan at Ghalapan, a small hamlet near Sost border town.

Around 10 teams from eight villages — Gulmit, Passu, Shiskat, Ghalapan, Sarteez, Gircha, Jamalabad and Khudabad — participated in the tournament, which allowed over 150 girls to showcase their talent.

Misbah told the Geo reporter that she felt encouraged to see girls participating in the tournament with full energy.

It was the first-ever sports activity for many who struggled in the competition but learnt the most valuable lesson: never give up, she said. 

The aim to organize the event was to provide the girls more opportunities in cricket, she said.

“It was a very good event, the energy displayed by the girls was really amazing,” commented Misbah, who runs Misbah Volleyball Academy in Islamabad.

It has motivated me to organize more such events in future after seeing the enthusiasm of the parents and locals who came in a large number to the ground to cheer and encourage the girls, she shared. She hoped that they will continue supporting girls in sports.

The participants of the tournament were of the view that they need more such activities for the girls to display their talent and become a source of inspiration for others.

For Hadiya, it was a good experience. Sport is an effective tool for the empowerment of women, said Hadiya, who represented Passu’s team in the tournament.

This was also echoed by Shumaila, the captain of Gulmit and Mahjabeen of Ghalapan. They both said that the girls of the valley need more such activities to participate in sports.

Some of the players with the organiser. Photo: Misbah Hina/Right To Play

“We couldn’t go beyond the semi-finals this time, but we are now very motivated to do better and win the title next time. I hope they come back again and organize the tournament for us,” said Hadiya.

The large number of women participating in sports also encouraged locals to visit the ground and cheer for the girls. It was a pleasing sight for them to witness young girls battle it out on the ground with passion and energy. 

“I am very happy to see girls from my village do well. They’ve played the final and it is so motivating for all of us. Our girls have the talent and dedication – all they need are opportunities. This is one of such, and I hope there’ll be more to come for them,” said Fauzia, who was cheering for Ghalapan’s team.

The girls, at the end of the tournament, celebrated the success of their right to play, lifting the trophy, with a victory parade on the streets of their village — telling the world that sports can change their lives for the better.

The Right To Play is a private company that was established in Pakistan in 2008. It aims at improving education, empowering children, women and young girls through sports activities to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict, and disease in disadvantaged communities as well as promoting social cohesion.

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