Sobia Altaf (19) joined Karate classes when she was just 10 years old. Today, this teenager from Nawa Kadal area of old city in Srinagar is a national level athlete and is a five times gold medalist.
In 2017 Sobia played for the School Games Federation of India in Kargil trails where she won a gold medal. Later she got selected at national level in Indore. In 2018 she won the state gold medal in Jammu and was selected in national level in Delhi.
"I have also won gold in 2015 and 2016 in Jammu and have played in many district level matches as well. Besides, I have won a bronze medal in gymnastics also," Sobia said.
She has always been passionate about the sports and is versatile at hand flips, stretching and other gymnastic routines.
Being proud of her game she says, "One thing I love about sports is discipline. I forget everything once I am playing it," she adds.
Her passion regarding the game did not let her miss karate classes even during the Covid-19 lockdown.
"I live in Old city and during turmoil it was difficult for me to go out, but I made sure not to miss my Karate and gymnastic classes," says Sobia Altaf.
Although, she is happy with her Karate and gymnastics but she has some complaints also with authorities.
“Though Karate and gymnastics are highly satisfying but lack of monetary support from the state sport councils for the players is a worrying aspect,” Sobia said.
The athlete is grateful to her coach Dr Ghulam Mustafa Mir.
"He has been associated with this sport for the last 35 years and it would have been difficult to win all these awards without his training," acknowledges Sobia.
She further adds that winning or losing is the part of any sport. However, the best part of sport is that it provides you a support system which pushes a player to achieve success.
Sobia aspires to become the best Karate player of Jammu and Kashmir.
"Besides that I also want to be the first female Karate coach of Kashmir and a best player."
Sobia's journey has been possible only through the consistent support of her family.
"Despite all odds and societal pressure my family provided me all the facilities and stood by me. Particularly my father has been very supportive throughout my journey," she said.
In her message for the young girls, Sobia says, "Dream, work hard and move ahead. If someone tells you girls cannot do this show them what girls are capable of."