Srinagar, August 04: A 19-year-old boy from central Kashmir’s Budgam district will represent Mumbai Khiladis team in the Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) League to be held in Balewadi Pune from August 14 onwards.
Ummar Ahmad Rather, who hails form from Balapora, Wathoora area in Budgam district, is currently pursuing intermediate education from Boys Higher Secondary Wathora.
Son of a daily-wage labourer, Ummer’s selection to the UKK league has come after a lot of hard work. “My family is not financially that sound, participation in the Ultimate Kho Kho League will definitely help me bring financial stability to my family,” he told the Rising Kashmir.
"I am very excited for being part of Mumbai Khiladis team," he added.
He said that despite having financial issues at home, his parents have always been supportive. “They never stopped me from pursuing my career in sports," he said.
Ummer said his parents are the reason behind his success.
He extended gratitude to the owners and the coach of the Mumbai Khiladis team for providing him with this “life-changing” opportunity.
"The Ultimate Kho Kho League will be a big platform for players like me, not only will it help bring financial stability to my family, but will also encourage many youngsters to take up the sport seriously," he said.
Ummer started playing Kho Kho at a very young age in his village. As he began to develop his skills, he represented his school at Junior and Senior level Kho Kho competitions at National level in School Games Federation of India (SGFI) from 2014 to 2021.
Ummer has played six National Championships in his career besides state and interstate championships.
"I started playing Kho Kho at the age of 12, and was introduced to this sport by seniors in my native village," he said.
The young athlete aims to promote Kho Kho sport in Kashmir and states that there is no dearth of talent in the Valley.
"My aim is to develop this sport in my village and the UT and encourage my juniors to participate in the sport," he said.
He said that the Ultimate Kho Kho is a professional set-up and there will be lot of new things to learn. “I am looking forward to making the most out of this opportunity," he added.
As per an official, Mumbai Khiladis Head Coach Rajendra Sapte has praised Ummer for his unique skills.He said Ummer is one of the promising young players in the team.
Umar credits his parents and all the coaches for his success.
He said that he wants to become a Physical Education Teacher (PET) believing that it will help him to train students in the sport.
A total of 143 best Kho Kho players in the country have been picked up by six franchises for the inaugural edition of the Ultimate Kho Kho in Pune. All six franchises did their best on July 14 (Thursday) to pick strong squads as they will fight for the title in Season 1.