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Monday Jan 27 2020

Multi-sport athlete Diana Baig 'a hope' for Gilgit-Baltistan girls Author

KARACHI: It won't be wrong to call her Pakistan's Ellyse Perry. Just like the Australian sportswoman, the "born-athlete" Diana Baig has also represented her country in two sports internationally — cricket and football.

Hailing from Gilgit-Baltistan, Baig is known for being a role model for many other girls in the valley.

"My growth as a multi-sport athlete has encouraged other girls to opt for playing sports at the professional level. They see me as a hope," she told when asked how people back home see her success.

"They now say that if Diana Baig can achieve this all, then why can't other girls," she noted.

The fast bowler, however, agreed that being labelled a "role model" brought added responsibility to any athlete. "People expect from you to do something for them in the field. They follow your trends and try to emulate you.

"So it's an honour but [it also] brings great responsibility on one's shoulder," the young sportswoman highlighted.

Baig grew up playing football and cricket on street with other children in the picturesque Hunza Valley in makeshift arenas surrounded by beautiful mountains. While she had the support to participate in sports, a lack of facilities was a major hurdle in her way to achieving her dreams.

"We don't have many facilities there and that's why girls start playing proper sport only when they're in cities for education. If you provide proper facilities then you'll see more talent coming forward," she added.

"There is no dearth of talent from Gilgit to Baluchistan. We just need proper facilities to train and play the sport," she said.

Baig is one of the rare athletes who are active in multiple sports. She was recently seen in action in the national championship of two sports, football and cricket; however, when the two clash, her priority is cricket.

The 24-year-old athlete is part of Pakistan's World T20 squad and she's hopeful of positive results from the team.

"We have worked really hard in the camp. We are keeping in view the possible condition and preparing according to that. I have no doubts that we will produce some memorable results in the world cup," she said.

"My target in the mega event in Australia is to contribute towards the team's success and place myself among the top performers in the event," she said.