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How Kashmir's Tajamul Islam fought her way to a World Championships Gold

"I request Indian government to recognise Kickboxing Federation of India," says Tajamul Islam in an interaction with The Bridge.

Tajamul Islam Kickboxing GOLD

Tajamul Islam (Source: Financial Express)


Abhijit Nair

Published: 1 Nov 2021 8:40 AM GMT

Kickboxing is in no way a mainstream sport in India. Even when there are talks about martial arts it is largely limited to the country's taekwondo and MMA stars for a majority of times.

Breaking these barriers and making a name for herself and leaving India's mark in the sport is the 13-year-old Tajamul Islam. Hailing from the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Tajamul recently won her second gold medal in the World Kickboxing Championships hosted by the World Kickboxing Federation (WKF).

A native of the Bandipora district located in the foothills of the snow-clad Harmukh mountain, Tajamul was born in a humble household and was introduced to martial arts pretty early in her life.

"My father used to work as a driver before, he runs his own business in Mumbai now. My mother has always been a homemaker. I took up kickboxing pretty early in life when I was around 4-year-old," Tajamul tells The Bridge.

She was fascinated by the sport having watched it on television and demanded that she be allowed to pursue it. To her surprise, her parents agreed and she has been practising martial art since.

"When I was in LKG, once I came back from school and happened to see boxing on television. I was impressed with the gloves and muscles of the players and was impressed instantly with the thought of wearing and playing it. I kept pestering my parents that I wanted to do the same and eventually they relented," she said with a chuckle.

Though she started early, it was never a smooth ride for Tajamul in the sport.

"I had to practice a lot. Initially, I could not kick properly. Let alone kicking, I used to struggle to complete my warm-up. I used to feel I should not have started it, but thanks to my coaches I have been able to reach a stage I am at today."

Tajamul is not the only one in the family who has been engulfed by the martial art fever. Her siblings too practice it, which probably explains her

"I have elder siblings. They are twins and they practice martial arts as well. So it surely runs in my blood, I think," Tajamul states.

The youngster was visibly proud of her achievement in Cairo and aspires to win more medals for India in the future.

"I am very proud of what I have achieved, winning two World Championships gold medals in two attempts. Representing India is a special feeling and seeing the media cover my achievements, I am at a loss for words. I want to repeat this feat many more times in the future."

Tajamul went to the World Championships under the banner of the Kickboxing Federation of India (KFI) – an organisation that is not recognised by the Indian Sports Ministry.

"There was no government funding since KFI is not recognised by the Indian government. My father spent money from his pocket to send me there. In fact, all 30 of us who represented India in the World Championships went at our own costs. I request the Indian government to recognise KFI which has been doing great work to develop kickboxing in India."

The Indian Sports Ministry recognises WAKO India – an organization affiliated with the World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO), as the official national federation of Kickboxing in India. WAKO India was suspended by WAKO Asia in March earlier this year.

The World Championships Tajamul Islam competed in and won medals were held by the World Kickboxing Federation (WKF) and not by WAKO, leading to a controversy.

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