By Nitin Srivastava
New Delhi [India], Sept 5 (ANI): Ishrat Akhtar, a wheelchair basketball player from Baramula in the Kashmir valley on Thursday thanked Indian Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police for sending her to Chennai to attend a training camp ahead of the Asia Oceania Wheelchair Basketball Championship.
"It is absolutely a dream come true. I wasn't aware of my selection, when police knocked on the door and asked about me then only I came to know. Next day, they took me to the airport and I reached Chennai. I want to express my gratitude to the police and the Indian Army for their help," Akhtar told ANI.
Ishrat got selected for Asia Oceania Wheelchair Basketball Championship which will be held in Thailand in November. But the federation was unable to reach her in the valley due to the communication shutdown in the valley after the abrogation of Article 370.
On August 5, the Central government abrogated Article 370 removing the special status given to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The government also brought in Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, bifurcating the state into two Union Territories -- Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
She was unaware of her selection and she had no idea of attending the camp in Chennai. Federation was trying to find her. In their way of search, federation's coach through Facebook get in touch with the army and from there army and Jammu and Kashmir police started the search operation using her photo. In 24 hours police reached to her and informed her about the selection.
Talking about her career she said: "Due to an accident, I had to stop my studies and from then I started playing basketball. The current situation in the valley is tough to go out and practice after scraping of Article 370. Things are becoming easy we are hopeful for the betterment of the situation."
Earlier in the day, she met with Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and he assured her of all the necessary support by the government. Akhtar will also be attempting for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Para-Olympics.
"Talented Miss Ishrat Akhtar from Baramulla in Kashmir Valley has been selected to represent India at the Asia-Oceania Wheelchair Basketball Championship & will also attempt for the @Tokyo2020 Para-Olympics. The Ministry will provide all necessary supports for her and the team," Rijiju tweeted.
"I had never dreamed of playing sports and neither thought that I will be selected. It was all dreams for me. My family always supported me for each and everything. It was a big challenge for me specially in this situation in Kashmir. Will have to learn how to face problems," Akhtar said. (ANI)
Ishrat Akhtar thanks Indian Army, J-K Police for sending to Chennai to attend training camp
Nitin Srivastava | Updated: Sep 05, 2019 17:13 IST
By Nitin Srivastava