Kabra Altaf, 22 was just five years old when she climbed the Zabarwan hills in Srinagar - that was her first stint into the world of sports.
Her father has been a constant driving force behind her to take up sports as a goal of life.
Hailing from Nishat area of Srinagar, Kabra's father is a martial arts player himself.
"He would keep on telling me about the positives of being a sportsperson and how sports can make me strong and dedicated in everything I do,” says Kubra.
With time Kabra fell in love with the concept of “sportspersonship” and it all began when she had no idea what sports actually meant.
Kabra would be a part of all sports activities at her school. Here she was introduced to the concept of mountaineering and skiing.
Before moving to Judo, Kabra was an ace skier. She started her journey as a skier.
"I completed the advanced course of skiing in 2009 from Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering."
Kabra has won many awards in skiing which included two silver medals in national skiing competition, a medal in Gondola Cup medal and a medal in open Gulmarg Cup besides various state awards.
"I was even selected for an international skiing championship. Unfortunately due to certain reasons it didn't materialize. The whole thing discouraged me."
After some time, Kabra felt a calling for Judo as her father had taught her many techniques of the sport.
"It was in 2011 when I finally picked Judo professionally.”
She went to the Indoor Stadium with her father and chose to play judo since he had taught her many things about judo.
After this decision there was no looking back for Kabra.
Just after three months of being in the sports, Kubra got selected for the nationals. She was offered training from Bhopal academy and won a medal there.
Her hard work and passion took her to the Centre of Excellence, Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports, commonly known as National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala.
"I was fortunate enough to get selected for practicing Judo for two and a half years in NIS. Unfortunately one day during my practice I suffered a knee injury."
The injury was so bad that Kubra was operated on. Due to the surgery the athlete was bed ridden for the next 18 months.
Instead of thinking about her injury, Kubra was worried about her sport. She used to wonder if she would ever be able to play the game again or not!
"Negative thoughts used to occupy my mind. But I resisted them all and made it a point that I overcome these challenges and be the best in my field."
In 2017 Kubra returned to practicing and before she knew it she started participating in the competitions also. In the same year, she bagged the gold medal at 62nd National school games in New Delhi.
"Winning gold at School Games Federation of India after a halt was like finding a lost treasure. Later I became a part of three to four India camps –where only top achievers are selected."
Kabra, also a student of Humanities, became the youngest Judo player from Kashmir to do a certificate course of eight weeks in Judo from NIS, Patiala.
After this she was selected for Inspire Institute of Sports in Bangalore where she stayed for a year and half and also won a Gold medal in Junior nationals.
Kabra says wherever she went she only represented Kashmir.
From playing in the 63 weight category and winning medals, Kabra also shifted to other categories and brought many laurels for J&K.
"I have also won a bronze in the 78 weight category which wasn't my category at all. It's being said that one should always play in one category, but I am that player who has played in four categories and won medals in all."
From being a part of Khelo India twice and winning the medals to getting selected for trials of the Open Commonwealth Games, Kabra has made a mark everywhere.
"I was among the top four people who got selected for the trials of the Open CommonWealth championship in 2020. I was selected for world university games trials and was among the top four there as well."
At Khelo India, Kabra was sponsored by SpiceJet. Instead of money, the athlete asked her sponsors to provide mats for the youth of J&K.
"We needed mats desperately so I asked the SpiceJet people to provide me the mats. Right now we practice on those mats only."
Besides playing, she has also been an instructor in Indoor Stadium for both boys and girls and has been training young women at her college.
Kabra calls herself lucky for she has been trained by the best people.
"I began my Judo training under Shafkat Shafi - my coach in Srinagar. Later I got a chance to practice under one of the best coaches in India, Jiwan Sharma and at Inspire Academy, Bangalore a Georgian coach Mamuka Kizilashvili trained me. So I have been blessed to always get the best to coach me."