#GoodNews: After a Long Wait, AMU Gets Its First Girls Hockey Team
The girls of Aligarh Muslim University are all geared up to play their first tournament in February 2019.
Despite facing opposition of crunch of funds and authorities being uncomfortable with ‘women playing a man’s sport,’ Aligarh Muslim University finally has a women’s hockey team for the first time since the university was established in 1920.
The university is known for producing stalwart hockey players like Zafar Iqbal, Masood Minaj, Ahsan Mohammad Khan, Madan Lal, Lt A Shakoor, all of whom have represented the country in the Olympics. In February 2019, the women’s team will play their first ever inter-school tournament and the young girls who are a part of the team cannot contain their excitement.
Speaking to the newspaper, coach Anees-Ur-Rehman, a former Indian international hockey player and current deputy director of the AMU sports committee said the team had to struggle and break barriers to get here.
Razia Razi said, at one point she had almost decided to drop the idea. A crunch of funds and authorities being uncomfortable with the idea of women taking up what was considered a ‘men’s sport’ were the two main hurdles.
“The previous VCs did not take much interest in promoting women in sports. However, things began to change a few years ago after Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah took over. The recent VC Tariq Mansoor also supports girls who want to take up sports seriously.”Razia Rizvi, Deputy Director of Physical Education to Times of India
But the past struggle has driven the girls to be more determined, the newspaper reported.
“All of them are working very hard and we hope they will shape up as excellent players. This is just the start, but it looks good,” said coach Rehman to Times of India.
According to Times of India, 13-year-old Naseem Zehra dreams about scoring a goal even in her sleep, and her teammate Alia Rashid is so “hooked” on to hockey that she carries her stick everywhere – even to her classroom.
“Playing hockey was never on my mind until one day my brother told me that a girls’ hockey team was being formed. I decided to try it out and now am enjoying it very much. But you know what’s the best part? Everyone wants to be friends with me since they think girls in the hockey team are cool.’’Naseem Zehra, Hockey Player to Times of India
(With inputs from The Times of India)
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