Tajamul Islam,13, is the first Kashmiri girl to have represented India and won the gold medal — in the under-14 age category — in World Kickboxing Championship held at Cairo in Egypt on October 22. She was born in Tarkpora, a remote village in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, 56km from Srinagar.
A resident of Tarkpora village, Tajamul has won several accolades earlier. The star player started kickboxing at the age of five. She later joined a local academy, which trains children in martial arts.
"I was walking near the stadium here when I saw many young boys and girls training. I saw them punching and all that and told my father that I wanted to join them, and he let me," she had told The Indian Express in 2016.
She won a state-level championship held the same year and was recognized as the best fighter of Jammu and Kashmir. This earned her place in the 2015 National Kickboxing Championship at New Delhi's Talkatora Stadium, winning gold in the sub-junior category.
A Class 7th student of Army Goodwill School in Bandipora, Tajamul defeated Argentina’s Lalina in the final. “I had represented India in Italy in 2016 too, in the under-9 category. Players from 90 other countries had participated in that championship,” Tajamul told TOI, after returning home.
Tajamul said that the championship started on October 18 and concluded on October 24. “I won my gold on October 22. Thirty players from India participated in various age/weight categories,” she said.
According to Tajamul, she played four bouts in the event —she fought two against players from host country Egypt while her third and fourth bouts were with rivals from France and Argentina respectively. Talking about the final bout, Tajamul said that her rival was very quick in making her moves. “But I kept my cool and it paid off,” she said. Tajamul is the third of the five children of her parents. “My father Ghulam Mohammad Lone is a businessman based in Mumbai but he is back home these days,” she said.
The young achiever is not only breaking stereotypes but also unearthing every opportunity to represent the country. Besides kickboxing, Tajamul also holds expertise in wushu and is also doing well in taekwondo.