Siblings Aliza Shah and Kaifa Shah have brought laurels to Jammu and Kashmir by winning Gold and Silver medals respectively in the recently concluded National Wushu Championship. The 20th Sub Junior National Wushu Championship was held at Mega Sports Complex, Ranchi from 21st to 26th March, 2021.
Hailing from Khayam area of Srinagar, the sisters, studying in Presentation Convent Higher Secondary School, participated in five matches in different weight categories.
While 11-year-old Aliza, a seventh grade student, won Gold after knocking down her opponent from Madhya Pradesh in the 45 kg weight category; Kaifa, 13, studying in 9th class, lost finals to Rajasthan after being declared ‘retired hurt’. She won Silver against Haryana in the 52 kg category.
The duo, having started playing Wushu in 2013, has won several medals in national Wushu championships earlier as well.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Kaifa said, “It was a tough competition. There were more than thousand competitors from other states and union territories. Despite having a back injury last year and being on bed rest for six months, I still went for the championship. That is why I couldn’t make it to the finals and ended up with Silver. We also have to strike a balance between sports and studies. However, due to good support by our school we are able to manage it.”
The sisters also thanked their parents for “immense support” saying it was, in fact, their father who pushed them toward the game. “It was because of our father that we developed an interest in Wushu. Without our family’s support, it was not possible for us to achieve the successes. Our coaches have also supported us through thick and thin.”
Their father, Shabir Ahmad Shah, said he was “blessed with two daughters who are equal to eleven sons”.
“My daughters are trying to achieve what I couldn’t in my life. After my elder daughter got injured last year, the people questioned me why I push my daughters toward sports. Everybody was bothered because of their gender but I am proud that my daughters proved them wrong,” he said.
Aliza and Kaifa practice in the morning as well as evening. They credit their coaches, Kuldeep Handoo, Maqsood Rather, Mushtaq Zargar, Rameez, Ajaz and Irfan for making them reach the nationals and win bigger tournaments.
Their mother said that besides academics, parents should support and encourage their kids in sports activities too. “I feel lucky as a mother because people know me by their name now. Since 2013, I have been constantly accompanying them wherever they go for the competition and it was experiencing interacting with different kinds of people from different places. I am a proud mother,” she said.