A versatile ice sports player

Training by clubbing the weight plates together, Shopian’s Zafeera Zahoor tries to shatter the glass ceiling with her ice stock techniques.

Originally from Shopian, Zafeera studies in class 10e and has been versatile playing a number of games from the start. The new sport – ice stock caught her eye when her school’s physical education teacher introduced her to the game.

“The game was very new to me. We started practicing by joining dumbbells (weight plates used in gyms) together. Our teacher made us practice and encouraged everyone to try,” recalls Zafeera.

She has been playing the game for a year now and has won many awards. At the 7th Icestock National Sports Championship in January 2021 in Gulmarg, she won 2 gold medals in team target and team play and 1 bronze medal in individual long distance. Event.

In the 2nd Khelo India, National Winter Games 2021 in Gulmarg, she won three silver medals in team play, team target and team distance and individually she won a gold medal in long distance against Ladakh.

In the inaugural Summer National Icestock Championship which was held in September 2021 at Sher-e-Kashmir Indoor Sports Complex, Srinagar, Zafeera won four gold medals in team play, team distance, target par team and individual long distance events.

“All of my accomplishments have really helped me in my life. All of this has empowered me to do anything, given me the resilience factor to fight every challenge and gave me hope that I can continue my journey. with higher scoring lands in the game,” she said.

The next Summer Nationals event will be in Karnataka and she is preparing for it.

She believes that ice stock requires knowledge of techniques. “Techniques are important for any player to know. Our coaches teach us and also hold our sessions with the renowned coaches of the game who pass their learning on to us,” she added.

Physical strength is also important for the game, needed to carry the 5-8kgs stock and push with one hand.

Although it’s a new game, she said the infrastructure is good now. However, players are unable to afford the stocks on an individual level due to its high cost.

The scale of the game is huge and she said the participation of the girls is equal to that of the men.

“In my family, my sisters and my cousins ​​are associated with the game. The senior players are also there and they play as well. Many have taken inspiration from us and the number is growing,” she said.

Like any other sport, many injuries come in the form of muscle strains or slips. The game is usually played in winter during the snow season. She said games are played at night at 2 a.m. because at that time the ice freezes and makes it ideal for stock movement.

“Because of the cold, the player’s hand goes numb and it becomes really difficult to carry the heavy stock, let alone push it,” she added.

In Kashmir, there are 5-6 teams of female ice players. Teams of four compete against each other.

“I have found it to be a super inclusive and competitive sport. I have played several games. I have played three times nationally in table tennis. Table tennis is a mental game that fascinates me” , she said.

She is the first girl in the family to actively practice sports and after her, her siblings and cousins ​​followed the same path.

She said women should participate in sports. “Games and sports are as important as studies. You have to be physically and mentally fit to focus on studies too. I want more girls from the village to show up and play games. I became a source of inspiration for the younger members of the family. every time I come home they always ask me what medals I won,” she said.

With the participation in games, she said she also improved her grades in studies.

“At the beginning I was not good in studies, but I resumed and today I am the best in my class. People have many aspirations with me and I hope to achieve them all, “he said. she declared.

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