Popular for its attractive mountainous landscapes and holy shrines, the Indian point out of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) has definitely lived up to its tag of ‘paradise on earth’. If the purely natural beauty enticed the people, the artistry of local artisans further more permitted the J&K handicrafts field to make a identify throughout the globe for their exquisite designs and craftsmanship.
But, the Indian point out that was after labelled as the ‘Valley Of Paradise’ has undeniably develop into the ‘Valley Of Death’.
Currently, this strife-torn state is only well-known for the bleak stories of violence, deadly assaults, militant insurgency and never-ending protests. The schooling technique has degraded to the extent of just about getting non-existent. The infrastructure is continue to a perform in development. The provides are constrained. And, to best it all, the existence of Indian armed forces forces has led to limited movements of the locals in their incredibly have state.
When the problem is not nevertheless perfect in the region, the youth in J&K have observed solace in athletics in a bid to escape all that has affected them and their family members more than the yrs. We have observed the likes of Parvez Rasool producing a name for himself in cricket, and, much more a short while ago, the spirited Authentic Kashmir football staff proving their mettle in the at any time-aggressive I-League.
Now, the stunning point out of J&K has supplied India a different sporting gem in the kind of Saqlain Tariq.
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Born in Poonch – 1 of the most distant districts of J&K, bounded by Line of Command (LoC) on 3 sides, Tariq has spent a important part of his daily life hiding from insurgency and regular shelling which often resulted in the reduction of existence and house. Evacuating his household, using shelter in makeshift places and haunted by the reality that any moment could be his very last Saqlain faced it all.
While the kids of his age would ideally locate by themselves cribbing in excess of gadgets and other product gains, Saqlain was just satisfied to be alive. In a spot exactly where respiratory was no a lot less than a luxurious, Saqlain understood that there was not a great deal he could do. His instruction took a toll, acquiring a position was always likely to be challenging and the future looked bleak. But, just when all hope appeared misplaced, the 21-12 months-outdated found a ray of hope in volleyball – a sport that gave him an identification and built him feel that he mattered.
Selecting up the activity at the age of 6, Saqlain’s journey in volleyball was drastically motivated by his family’s assist and enthusiasm for the game. “I would not be here if it was not for my spouse and children. They have supported me in the thick and slender of daily life. All my achievements in volleyball is an consequence of their beliefs in me,” emotions get the superior of Saqlain as he credits his relatives.
“Due to the fact I could bear in mind, my father was operating a community volleyball club in Poonch. He utilized to acquire me to the observe sessions when I was a kid. About the several years, I designed a liking in the direction of the activity. But then, there were being some complications. It wasn’t that simple,” the 21-yr-outdated reveals prior to getting relaxed in the sofa.
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Saqlain’s mom, just like our individual, was confused by the worry of losing him each and every time he went out to apply. “She (mother) was really anxious about my properly-being. Offered our point out of affairs, she was in all probability correct in her possess domain to worry for my daily life. Just after all, she experienced misplaced her loved kinds and found far too a great deal in her existence. But, this is where my dad stood out and ensured almost nothing was heading to impact my expansion as a volleyball participant,” he adds further.
Honing his expertise and bettering his sport at his father’s facility, Saqlain’s expertise was just as well hard to go unnoticed. And, this when his father Mohammad Tariq Khan, a state-amount volleyball participant himself, took a simply call that would eventually improve the everyday living of his son. “My father could not make the cut for the national staff. And, he understood, if I stayed in this article (J&K), my fate will be the exact. I would have confronted survival challenges and, possibly, I would have develop into a stone pelter. So, in opposition to the liking of my mother and other household customers, he sent me to Khanna (in close proximity to Ludhiana) for studies,” Saqlain remembers with a smile on his encounter.
But, for a youngster who shares a shut bond with his mother and father and by no means remaining his household earlier, keeping away from family members wasn’t quick for Saqlain. “I was there (in Khanna) for a couple months ahead of the homesickness crept in. For the first time in my lifetime, I was on my own, working with working day-to-working day troubles by myself. It took a toll on me. And, as a final result, I told my father that I want to return home,” the 6-ft-3-inches tall participant reveals.
“My father spoke to the warden to grant me a few times go away and I returned home. I was satisfied that I was eventually going to see my family and all. But, my father wasn’t joyful with my conclusion. When I reached residence, my father failed to discuss me to me after. And, right after a day or so, I realised why. Realising the sacrifices of my moms and dads and the desires they had for me, I was left with no alternative, but to return to Khanna. And, the minute I informed my father about my final decision, he was elated,” Saqlain talks about the mastering curve that went on to perform a pivotal part in his journey as a volleyball player.
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Due to the fact that day, there was no turning back for this youngster. He played his initially nationals for J&K when he was in the eighth common and rose by the ranks on the back of an improved exhibiting in the domestic circuit. Soon, he observed his way into the nationwide workforce. Named as the captain of the Indian crew, Saqlain experienced his worldwide outing at the Asian Championship in Sri Lanka in 2014 when he was just 17. Flourishing in the place of a setter, Saqlain also went on to signify India at the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Games wherever he performed a very important function in his side’s bronze-medal end last 12 months.
“When I went abroad to take part in the worldwide tournaments, I was variety of shocked to see the amount of opposition there. Nations like China, Japan and South Korea have dominated the sport in Asia. But, the fact that Iran astonished absolutely everyone with a gold medal in men’s volleyball at the 2018 Asiad demonstrates that it is all about improving. It was some thing that we (Indian gamers) can discover from. That’s why I usually cherish global publicity,” Saqlain would make a legitimate stage.
On the again of hard perform and perseverance, Saqlain, then, managed to convince U Mumba Volley to shell out a whopping Rs 1.1 lakh for his expert services in the future version of the Pro Volleyball League (PVL). An initiative of Baseline Ventures and Volleyball Federation Of India, the initially edition of the PVL is set to begin on 2nd February with Kochi Blue Spikers taking on U Mumba Volley in the 1st match. The league will see six groups combating for the title which will be lifted by the winner on 22nd February in the ultimate in Chennai.
“I have waited for a extended time to get an chance like the Professional Volleyball League. I want to thank the Volleyball Federation of India to carry this kind of a league to the fore. It is heading to be extremely valuable for players like me. Considering the fact that it also entails overseas gamers, the league will enable us in enhancing our game by mastering new issues from them. It’s a excellent system for the Indian gamers to verify their mettle and popularise the video game in the region,” Saqlain lauds the arrival of Professional Volleyball League.
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As a 21-yr-aged, Saqlain’s love for Punjabi tracks and, more particularly, for Bohemia may make him just another youngster, but when requested about his concept for the youth in the Valley, Saqlain answered with maturity.
“Sporting activities are the want of the hour for the Kashmiri youth. I have so a lot of kids contacting me up and looking for advice. And, I often stimulate them to courageous all odds and manage their self-perception. Our condition has so considerably expertise across sporting activities, but the lack of services and schooling centres hasn’t served their induce. I would truly urge the anxious authorities to take observe of the talent from the Valley and nurture them with a prospect of producing the country proud,” Saqlain indicators off.
Coming from a region wherever folks have a tricky time focussing on their lives, Saqlain did not just survive, but he concentrated on the very issue that acted as an escape route from all the hardships – his appreciate for volleyball. From residing in worry to turning into the very first spiker from his state to signify India in any age group, Saqlain, at a tender age, has become a beacon of hope and is the perfect embodiment of accomplishment derived towards all odds, on the back again of persistent tough do the job.
(Notice: The headline of the unique report has been modified as revealed on 21/01/2019)