By Zeenat Khan
PESHAWAR: Aqsa Hussain, who represented Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on national and international level in judo, has been awarded Fakhr-e-Peshawar Award.
The 21-year-old girl from Peshawar says she learnt martial arts initially for self-defence and now the whole nation is proud of her. Aqsa, who is a black -belt and also has been a national judo champion, says she has won eight gold, seven silver and four bronze medals for KP. She has also represented Pakistan in a number of international competitions.
Aqsa said while talking to TNN that being a girl she didn’t feel safe in the prevailing environment after which she decided to learn judo. She said she initially faced opposition from the relatives and other people and everyone pointed finger at her for playing alongside boys and taking lessons from male instructors. However, she said her parents stood for her in pursuing her dream. She said the family and neighbours are now proud of her and they also want their children to follow her footsteps.
Aqsa is an air hostess by profession, and she plays judo as a passion. She said her job and passion have quite different requirements. She said she uses nail polish on the plane, while her judo coach dislikes these things.
“I need to be polite with the passengers on the plane. However, the situation changes in the judo where I am supposed to be a tough girl,” she told TNN.
She said she wants to give a message to girls that they shouldn’t lose heart and be tough in the challenging circumstances.
Faqir Hussain, father of Aqsa, is very happy over the success of his daughter. He said very few girls are allowed to go out of their homes in Pakhtun society and allowing them to take part in sports activities is even more difficult.
“I had belief in my daughter and she got successes more than my expectations. She has made us and the whole nation proud,” he told TNN.
Aqsa said coaches also played important role in her success besides her efforts and prayers of parents. However, she said she plays alongside boys and gets training from male coaches under compulsion of non-availability of female coaches.
“Where should I go for learning when there are no female judo coaches and players? A lot of talented girls cannot come to the field due to unavailability of female coaches,” she said.
Aqsa said the establishment of a judo academy for Pakhtun girls is inevitable to resolve this problem. She said she can initiate such an academy if the government provides her help.