Friday Oct 08 2021

Young women display stellar action during Gilgit-Baltistan cricket, football tournaments

The victors of the tournament celebrate atop a vehicle with their trophies.
The victors of the tournament celebrate atop a vehicle with their trophies.

The picturesque valley of Gilgit-Baltistan is quickly becoming a talent hotspot for women's sports. The region has already produced several talented sportswomen who have made the country proud and to see them shining as super stars in Pakistan has motivated other girls residing on the mountains of Gilgit to opt for sports as well.

Hundreds of girls from various villages of Gilgit participated in two sports events held last week. The Gilgit Baltistan Girls Football League and Gilgit Girls Cricket Tournament.

While the eight-team football event was organized by the Inayat Sisters – Karishma and Sumera – of Al-Shams Football Club, the cricket event was organized by athlete Misbah Hina, in collaboration with Right To Play, Pakistan.

An ongoing cricket match during the tournament in Gilgit.
An ongoing cricket match during the tournament in Gilgit. 

Around 10 teams participated in the tournament, which allowed over 150 girls to showcase their talent at the very grassroots level.

Misbah Hina, the organizer and a volleyball athlete, told that she felt encouraged to see girls participating in the tournament with full energy.

“The aim to organize this event for girls was to provide them more opportunities in cricket. There were 10 teams, all Gojal villages, that participated in the event,” Misbah told said.

“It was a very good event, the energy displayed by the girls was really amazing. It has motivated me to organize more events in future for them. It was good to see parents and locals coming to the ground and cheer for these girls. I hope they’ll continue supporting girls in sports,” she added.

A girl prepares to bowl during the cricket tournament.
A girl prepares to bowl during the cricket tournament. 

Misbah confirmed that teams from the villages of Gilmit, Passu, Shisket, Ghalapan, Sarteez, Gircha, Jamalabad and Khudabad participated in the tournament. The players were aged 13-29.

The tournament was the first-ever sports activity for many who struggled in the competition but learnt the most valuable lesson of all, to never give up. 

Participants of the tournament were of the view that they need more of such activities so that sports can become a source of empowerment for the girls of the valley.

“Overall, it was a very good experience. And, not only for sports, it was actually a good thing for the empowerment of women through sports,” said Hadiya, who represented Passu’s team in the tournament.

Hadiya’s opinions were backed by Shumaila, the captain of Gulmit and Mahajabeen of Ghalapan. They both said that the girls of the valley need more activities to participate in sports.

A girl plays an aggressive shot during a cricket tournament.
A girl plays an aggressive shot during a cricket tournament. 

“We couldn’t go beyond the semi-finals this time, but we are now very motivated to do better and win the title next time. I hope they come back again and organize the tournament for us,” said Hadiya.

The large number of women participations in sports also encouraged locals of the valley to visit the ground and cheer for the girls. It was a pleasing sight for them to witness young girls battle it out on the ground with passion and energy. 

“I am very happy to see girls from my village do well. They’ve played the final and it is so motivating for all of us. Our girls have the talent and dedication – all they need are opportunities. This is one of such, and I hope there’ll be more to come for them,” said Fauzia, who was cheering for Ghalapan’s team.

The girls, at the end of the tournament, celebrated the success of their right to play, lifting the trophy, with a victory parade on the streets of their village - telling the world that sports can change their lives for the better.