Srinagar: Gulbadan Hikmatyar, a native of Ganderbal, is vying for the national championship gold medal in the struggling J&K athletics category.
Gulbadan Hikmatyar of BeehamaLar is eyeing the national athletics championship after his recent victory in the Kargil International Marathon.
On September 19, the Kargil International Marathon was conducted in Kargil, and the gifted distance runner came out on top.
Gulbadan Hikmatyar has recently emerged as J&K’s top athlete, notably in Kashmir, and he has the ability to help the state of J&K win that elusive medal in athletics on the national stage.
Athletics which is considered an elite sport with high competition involved has not been a regular medal-winning discipline for J&K. Though at the individual level, J&K has produced many athletes who have made name for themselves in various events but none have achieved worthwhile success.
Amid all that gloom, a new hope has emerged for the sport in J&K in the shape of GulbadanHikmatyar who has the potential to alter all that history.
GulbadanHikmatyar started taking part in athletics events in 2014 through inter-school competitions. At the early stage of his career, he was trained and guided by another athlete from the Ganderbal district Nisar Dar. Later he was noticed by the National level athletic coach of J&K, Tahir. Currently, GulbadanHikmatyar is training under the guidance of Tahir and has been working hard to achieve his dream of winning a medal for J&K at the National level.
The student of BSC final year Government Degree College Ganderbal has won the Inter-College Athletic race twice with record timing and has also bagged gold in the Sky Running event.
He has represented J&K in 33rd National junior championship and also in 56th National Cross Country Championship.
Apart from winning almost all the athletic events in Kashmir, Gulbadan has also bagged second place in the Kashmir Cross Country run and Jammu Marathon. Last year he bagged two gold medals in Kashmir Grandprix.
“It was by chance that I joined athletics through Inter-School competitions. Later after winning a couple of events, I got more and more attracted to the sport. Since then running has become my passion,” said Gulbadan.
“Tahir sir has been the guide behind my success and he has been guiding and training me at every step. I would have left the sport if he wouldn’t have been there,” he said.
Gulbadan pointed out the struggles of an athlete and how difficult it is to achieve success in this sport.
“Despite having worked so hard, I am still not able to achieve basic success in this sport. I train miles and miles daily, have made a lot of sacrifices and still I am nowhere,” he said.
“I have won so many long-distance races but still when we compare that with those everyday International martial art medals, my achievements take backstage. In our sport, winning a National medal is a dream while nowadays we see International medal winners everywhere,” he said.
Gulbadan said that it is not just a story in J&K but also in India.
“In our Country athletics which is the base of all sports hasn’t got the attention that it deserves. That is the main reason India lags behind in Olympics,” he said.
“In J&K those sports disciplines are encouraged that exist nowhere. Sometimes I also ask myself why did I join athletics instead of those easy medal-winning disciplines,” he said.
Despite all the setbacks and with no support at any level, Gulbadan has vowed to bag a medal for J&K on the National stage.
“I am focussed on my sport and I am working hard to bag that dream medal on the National stage. For that I am training daily both in my home town as well as in Srinagar under my coach,” he said.
Gulbadan’s coach Tahir said that the talented athlete from Ganderbal has got the potential to achieve success on the National stage.
“He was raw and needed guidance. For the last two years, I am working on him and he has been responding positively. For athletics, one needs to work hard and make a lot of sacrifices. Gulbadan has been doing that and I am sure he will win a medal for J&K on the National stage,” Tahir said.
“We don’t have facilities as well as support for athletics in J&K. If our athletes get the support and encouragement from an early stage we have the potential to reach the International stage. Being a hilly area is an advantage for us and our concerned departments should focus on producing and nurturing athletes,” he said.