Table tennis star Aleshba says girls must pursue their dreams

Khalida Niaz

PESHAWAR: My relatives are unable to come to terms with fact that I play table tennis. They question why I wear a track suit and go outside to play like boys. But I don’t care about them as my parents firmly stand behind me and they are always supportive.

These views were expressed by Aleshba, a 12-year-old table tennis player from Peshawar, while talking to TNN. Aleshba is an eighth grade student and she is fond of sports from the very beginning. She started playing table tennis one year ago.

Aleshba said she fully concentrates on her education and sports practice and doesn’t listen to critics. She said she will lose focus if she listened to the stereotypical views of people and might not be able to achieve her goals. She said she comes back from her school at 2:00pm and then she practice table tennis from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. She said she also gives time to her studies.

“I dedicate at least two hours to my studies at home and currently I am among top-five position holders in my school,” she told TNN.

Aleshba has won medals in 14 table tennis competitions so far and she has also featured in the National Junior Table Tennis Championship where she got third position. She has attended table tennis competitions in Charsadda, Abbottabad, Dera Ismail Khan and Swabi.

“I have been picked for China tour now. I am very happy over my selection and I am determined to prove my talent there. We will stay there for three months. I was selected after a tough competition. I needed to win at least two out of five matches, but I won four and lost one match. My section for the tour is a matter of honour for my parents,” she said.

Aleshba believes that women should not hesitate to participate in the sports competitions. She said it is difficult to come out of home at first, but once a female player takes a decision, then opportunities also come for them from time to time. However, she said, the support of family, especially the parents, is very crucial for female players.

“My parents are very supportive and they take care of my all needs,” she said.

Aleshba shared that even her critics praise her whenever she brings any trophy or medal to home. However, she said, it is still very difficult for girls in our society to come out of their homes and take part in sports competitions. She said girls never lag behind in any field of life and they should definitely pursue their dreams if they have the talent.