SRINAGAR: Twenty-five players from south Kashmir’s Shopian district have brought home medals from the 24th Sqay National Championship held in Rajasthan. The players, affiliated with the Sqay Association Shopian, showcased their skills and determination in the championship held in Jaipur from January 04 to 06, 2024.

The Shopian players secured an impressive tally of 13 gold, seven silver, and five bronze medals.

The victorious athletes include Anish Zahoor, Faizan Khursheed, Tahir Yousuf, Ayesha Showkat, Ubhat Altaf, Tazkiya Rafiq, Himra Hussian, Zaid Showkat, Vijdan Gulzar, Faizan Ayoub, Owais Mushtaq, Mufeeda Mushtaq, and Tawqer Ashraf, who clinched gold medals.

Silver medalists from Shopian are Burhan Tariq, Kaiser Ashiq, Rutba Jan, Shafeeq Malik, Khajat ul Qubra, Faizan Gulzar, and Kaifa Bilal. Bronze medal winners include Samiullah Ashiq, Mohammad Ayaan, Shahid Rayees, Injeela Mukhtar, and Mehak Javaid.

Expressing their joy over the national-level recognition, the players said winning medals has motivated them to strive for greater achievements. They said they want to represent India on the international stage and expressed their commitment to continuous hard work to achieve this goal.

Faizan Ayoub, one of the medalists, said he had been interested in martial arts since childhood. “I am very much interested in martial arts and have been learning different art forms for the last two years. I’m hopeful that I will be able to represent India in the coming years,” he said.

The athlete said outdoor games are important for mental and physical fitness, and urged the youth to engage in sports activities. The players also acknowledged the numerous benefits of playing games, including cognitive enhancement, improved problem-solving skills, social connections, and entertainment.

Coach Ehsaan ul Haq praised the talent of the players and expressed confidence in their ability to excel at any level.

“J&K is facing a challenge of drug addiction and the sports activities steering the youth away from the menace and other social evils. Engagement in sports contributes positively to personal development and social interaction,” Haq stressed. (KNO)

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