Kashmir’s First Female Taekwondo Athlete Aims for Paris Olympics

Image Credit: India.com

Afreen Hyder, a tenacious 23-year-old from Kashmir, is breaking barriers and striving for excellence in taekwondo. Despite growing up amidst curfews and political turmoil, she remains resolute in her pursuit of sporting glory. Afreen, Kashmir’s inaugural female taekwondo athlete, is setting a remarkable example for Indian girls aspiring to embark on athletic careers. Her journey is a testament to her unwavering commitment to represent her country on the grandest stage – the Olympics.

Facing initial challenges due to the absence of mentorship and limited professional guidance, Afreen relied on her parents’ support and her unyielding determination. The volatile environment in Kashmir, marked by curfews and lockdowns, added to her struggles. Nonetheless, Afreen’s dedication propelled her to become an All India Rank 1 holder and secure a spot among the Top 100 female taekwondo athletes globally.

Afreen’s remarkable journey unfolds in the context of the ongoing turmoil within India’s taekwondo ecosystem. The conflict between the Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI) and India Taekwondo, vying for supremacy, has cast uncertainty over the participation of Asian Games athletes. Despite these challenges, Afreen has clinched medals at international G1 and G2 tournaments, including a bronze at the Senior National Championships in February 2023.

While she has already achieved much, Afreen’s ultimate aspiration is to win an Olympic medal for India. Her pursuit is fueled by her profound passion for the sport and the desire to inspire fellow athletes. In an exclusive interview, Afreen discusses her journey, the state of sports culture in Kashmir, and the challenges posed by the ongoing federation conflict.

As she prepares to scale new heights, Afreen’s dedication to taekwondo remains unshakable. Her journey embodies resilience, determination, and a burning desire to hoist the Indian flag at the Olympic podium.

Re-reported from the article originally published in India.com

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