Fitness First

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After winning three international gold medals in Sqay martial arts, this Pampore girl is out to help youngsters stay fit. Heena Muzzafar reports

Aabida-Mohi-ud-din-Baba

Aabida Mohi-ud-din Baba, 26, who lives in Frestabal area of Pampore, is excitedly looking forward to take her maiden trip to USA. There, she will be participating in an international Tang-Soo-Doo event in August, 2016.

Aabida, who is the general secretary of J&K Sports Association and Authorizer of J&K Scouts and Guides, is practicing martial arts since 1996. “I was just six then,” recalls Aabida. Her first training centre was Pampore based ‘Ahmad Mir’s Club of Martial Arts’. “My parents wanted me to master self defence skills,” said Aabida.

Two years later, Aabida was on her way to Haryana to participate in her first Thang Ta National level event. “I won a gold medal there,” said Aabida. That was the start of her journey as martial arts. So far Aabida has won 20 gold medals at the state and national level, and 3 international gold medals, and a bundle of certificates appreciating her talent.

Aabida, a 3rd DAN Black Belt, recalls her first gold medal she won in Bangladesh. “This tour (2011) is close to my heart as I won my first international gold there,” said Aabida. “That tour was turning point of my career. It helped me perfect my self-defense skills.”

The next destination was international tournament in Bhutan, where Aabida had to defeat ten competitors to win a gold medal. “This was tougher than the earlier events,” recalls Aabida. In 2013, Aabida won a gold medal at an international Sqay tournament, held at Nepal. “These wins helped me pursue my long cherished dream of opening a training club,” said Aabida.

In 2013, Aabida opened Baba’s Club of Martial Arts in Pampore, where around sixty boys and girls are trained in different forms of martial arts. She also teaches football, volleyball, Kho Kho and martial arts, to Srinagar based school students.  “Everyone must know the art of self defence,” feels Aabida.

Despite her kitty full of offers, Aabida is working hard to get martial arts its due recognition in Kashmir. As of now, a player has to bear all the expenses in order to participate in an event. “We get nothing from the government. We have to fund everything on our own,” said Aabida.

Right now, Aabida, who is associated with a number of sports bodies, is trying to get martial arts included in School Games Federation of India (SGFI), so that tournaments would be funded by the government. “The art of self defence must be made compulsory in all schools in Kashmir,” feels Aabida. “This will help students stay safe and fit, both mentally and physically.”

In order to stay fit, Aabida starts her day at five in the morning. “I practice for an hour daily,” she said. “The important part is to take light protein-rich diet.”

At 7 in the evening, after completing hectic schedule, finally Aabida calls it a day. “I practice for a while at home.”

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