Our Thanga-Ta Star

Nine-year-old Zakariya Yasin is perhaps the youngest Thanga-Ta star from Kashmir who recently won the gold medal in South Korea. Syed Asma chats with the young star who looks forward to representing Kashmir in Singapore. 

Nine-year-old Zakariya Yasin is Kashmir’s international Thanga-Ta star. The young Zakariya has already won two silver and three gold medals in different district, state, national and international level Thanga-Ta tournaments.

Thanga-ta is a weapon-based Indian martial art and is said to be originated from Manipur.

Zakariya has won two silver medals in the district and state-level tournaments and has won gold in National games held at Indoor stadium last year. He has also won the gold medal in Federation Thanga-ta Championship, Asian Thanga-ta Championship and in an international tournament held at Seoul, South Korea last year.

Besides, he has got selected for World Thanga-ta Championship as well which perhaps would be held either in Singapore or South Korea, he says.

He aspires to continue the chain of wins that he has scored so far.

Zakariya’s mother, Abida, a housewife, says he is an energetic kid and since his childhood had an inclination towards different sports like kicking and boxing.

“Since he was two, he has been boxing with pillows and cushions all over the house,” she says.

Seeing Zakariya’s interest in martial arts, his parents started looking for a coach who will brush up his skills and train him for professional events.

“We gave him an open choice and allowed him to choose a sport for himself,” says Abida, “he chose Thanga-Ta and we supported him.”

Zakariya is attending his training classes for the past five years regularly and says Thanga-Ta fascinated him. “I had tried Taekwando for a few days but it seemed boring. I think I like Thang-Ta more as it includes weapons.”

Residing in Bemina, son of a textile businessman, Mohammed Yasin, Zakariya follows a fixed schedule since he was four.

“I go to school in the morning, after school, I go to practice Thanga-Ta for two hours, then I visit papa’s shop take my bus fare from him and leave for home,” says the nine-year-old sportsman without a pause wearing an innocent look on his face.

He lives with his mother and father at Bemina and has an older brother who studies in a boarding school, Dalhousie Public school, Himachal Pradesh. His parents had decided to send him to Himachal Pradesh as well. They wished the two siblings would grow up and study together but Zakariya disagreed.

“He said I won’t be able to practice Thanga-Ta at Himachal and do not want to lose the sport,” says Abida. Not disappointing his parents much he has agreed to shift there in Class 9th but would come back after passing the High school exams.

“I wanted my children to have the best education, so, I would prefer them to study the Central Board courses rather than NCERT,” says Abida.

Zakariya is presently studying in Tyndale Biscoe School in 4th standard.

Good at his studies, he always ranks among the toppers in his class, he says with confidence. “I like to be among in the top three always.”

He prefers to read comics and story books in his free time.

Respecting the support of his parents towards his passion (playing Thanga-Ta) he says he can’t afford to be lenient with his studies as his parents are quite strict about it and cannot disappoint them.

His coach, Mohammed Iqbal, seconds his thought and says that I take my student’s studies seriously.

“Once we were on a tour to Jharkhand and Zakariya’s examination was due right after the tournament. I made it a point that he takes his books along and stays in touch with them even during the matches.” Zakariya scored 90% in that examination, shares his excited mother.

Iqbal, a trained a martial art player himself, resident of Nowhatta, has been associated with Martial art for past 20 years, he says. Iqbal has been training children of Zakariya’s age in Thanga-ta at Indoor stadium, Srinagar since last one decade.

Balancing both his studies and sports equally, Zakariya is busy training himself for the World Thang-Ta Championship and hopes to win another gold medal, he concludes with a smile.

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