London [UK], Jan. 1 (ANI
) British Pakistani cricket coach Saba Nasim
, who is a lawyer by profession, has been awarded the British Empire Medal
in the Queen's New Year Honours list for services to cricket and young people in London.
"It feels amazing to have received this award and to know that the work I am doing at the grassroots level is being recognised at a national level," the News quoted Nasim as saying.
She said that being acknowledged in the New Year Honours was a surprise for her and she was overwhelmed to receive the honour at such a young age.
Nasim thanked the Chance to Shine charity, Essex County Cricket Board, her local cricket club, Wanstead CC and her parents for giving her the opportunity to become a coach and for supporting her through the various cricket projects over the years.
She inherited love for cricket from her Pakistani parents.
Nasim said she was inspired by Pakistan
i cricket greats and grew watching them making their mark at the international level.
She started playing cricket as a young girl and then moved to do professional courses.
Nasim began her coaching by giving local school children taster sessions in cricket in the hope that they would want to play the game themselves.
At first, she found it was not easy to get into schools as cricket was not on the curriculum.
However, Nasim's determination led to over 600 girls being coached by her in the area.
She said young girls from the Redbridge project have joined together to make a formidable side which regularly wins the regional Chance to Shine Street competitions.
"I hope to use sport as a vehicle to drive change in the community, promote social cohesion and empower young people to become respectable role models themselves. I envisage setting up more of these community projects in other boroughs of London to give girls a chance to try the sport," she said.
Nasim said she gives most of her free time to coaching and running weekly cricket sessions in Redbridge & Newham for girls, adding that she also helps them with their academic work, teaching life skills and providing personal guidance and advice to them.
She said the medal will be presented to her this year and she will also be invited to the Royal Garden Party held at Buckingham Palace in the summer. (ANI