After eight-year old Tashvi Menghi’s successful bronze medal at the World Karate Championship this year, the country’s threshold of producing champions in the sport has fallen even lower with Hashim Mansoor, a six-year old from Kashmir winning the gold medal at the on-going Asian Championships in Delhi. The youngest competitor in an event which had participants from 19 different countries, Mansoor successfully won top honours by dominating his opponent in the final. The sub-junior category had participants as old as 12 years of age.
Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda at the Talkatora stadium, he said, “I cannot explain in word how happy I am, I was half the age of my opponent and I defeated him. This also means I will be representing India and Asia at the World Championship in Europe next year. I spent all my time in Karate for the past year. I came into this event as the lowest ranked fighter, but thanks to my parents and Coach, I have pulled this off. I’m sure this is only the beginning, I will not stop till I medal at the 2017 Worlds.”
Striking words from a 6-year old, who is on the verge of graduating from Kindergarten. His coach said, “I cannot believe it, Hashim’s outlook in life is the reason why he won today. His opponent was double his size, but he still won it, and not only just won it, he won it convincingly. He fights only one hour a day in a delapitated gym, which I run. He probably doesn’t have half the resources that his competitors have here, yet he has managed to do this. You know what the great thing is? Even if he lost, he wouldn’t be a different perosn. Its his outlook more than anything that helped him win today.”
Another eight year old, Tajamul Islam had won gold at the World Kickboxing Championship highlighting the state’s talent in combat sports. His coach added, “I really hope he is given adequate funding to train the right way, the same way Tajamul is being given. The competition he will face at the World Championship will be 10 times tougher, so he will need it. If he can stay focussed, I see him as the next World Champion.”
The Mansoor family had to immediately rush back to Srinagar for Hashim’s Class 1 admission, which is currently in progress.