Tajamul Islam, an eight-year-old Indian girl from Kashmir, etched her name in the history books when she clinched the gold medal at the World Kickboxing Championships held at Andria in Italy.
Studying in just the second grade at school, she won the championships, where athletes from more than 90 countries were participating. She remained unbeaten in her run up to the finals, winning six bouts over the course of five days and ultimately defeating her rival from the United States in the final to win the title.
Hailing from Tarkpora village in Bandipora district, it is for the first time that a boxer from the Kashmir valley has achieved this rare feat.
Tajamul’s coach Master Fasil Ali, himself an international level kickboxer, was all praise for the young girl and said that her self-confidence, aggression and skills combined had left the experts in surprise, “She is an excellent fighter and has a great future in the sport, she showcased her talent by becoming the very first player from the sub-junior category to win a gold medal.”
Big celebrations are in store to savour her victory back in Bandipore with family and their friends waiting for her return from Italy, Fasil Ali told ABP Live, “In fact, people are already celebrating here (in Bandipore).”
Tajamul participated in the world event with support from the Kick Boxing Federation of India. She came into the limelight after winning the gold medal in sub-junior category National Kickboxing Championship in New Delhi in 2015. The same year, she was also adjudged as the best fighter of Jammu and Kashmir after she won the state level championships held in Jammu.
A student of the Army Goodwill School, much of her success has been attributed to the army, who have been instrumental in her rise as a pro boxer, and have financially backed the player by bearing the expenses of her training and travel.
Traditionally a Wushu player, she tried her luck in kickboxing after her sister got her enrolled in an academy and achieved immediate success. Islam also clinched the gold medal in the Jammu & Kashmir Wushu championships in Haridwar earlier in 2016.
Coming from a modest background, her father Ghulam Mohammad Lone, is a driver with a private company while three of her siblings also practice the sport of kickboxing.
With praises pouring in from all quarters, PDP leader Waheed Parra, who is also J&K State Sports Council secretary was quoted as saying to The Hindu that, “She (Tajamul Islam) has created history by winning a gold medal in the game at the age of eight, the feat is remarkable.” While, State Education Minister Nayeem Akhtar said, “It’s a proud moment for all of us back here in Kashmir, the young girl is a bag house of talent.”