More sports in Valley means fewer pelters: Saqlain Tariq | More sports News


CHANDIGARH: Hiding from consistent Pakistani shelling across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district to getting into India U-21 volleyball side, Saqlain Tariq has come a long way.

Saqlain, 21, is the first spiker from his state to represent India in any age group. Also, for the first season of Pro Volleyball League, which will be played from February 2, Saqlain was bought for Rs 1.1 lakh by the Mumbai-based U Mumba Volley team owned by film producer Ronnie Screwvala.

Saqlain feels if the youth in J&K take up sports instead of stones, there will be many sports stars from Kashmir and fewer stone pelters. “Bhai saheb, I was very lucky as my father sent me and my elder brother to Khanna (near Ludhiana) and thankfully we are alive. If we had stayed there, we would have faced survival issues. Maybe, I too would have become a stone pelter,” he says.

“To be honest, there is so much talent in the Valley, only if the youth there take up sports instead of stones. We should also blame our political leaders back home. In the country of Mahatma Gandhi, there are those who are preaching violence. It is really sad,” adds Saqlain, who is studying for a graduation degree in Mastuana Sahib in Sangrur, Punjab.

Saqlain took to volleyball when he was just six. His father, Mohammad Tariq Khan, himself a state-level volleyball player, started taking him to his practice sessions. “My father could never play for the national side. He knew that if I stayed in Jammu and Kashmir, my fate will be the same. So he decided to send me to Ludhiana for studies,” says Saqlain.

“I owe my success to my abba. He is still nurturing young kids back home. But he is facing numerous obstacles — many parents don’t allow their kids to play in the open because of obvious reasons. He is fighting his own battle and I am sure, there will be more Saqlains from Kashmir,” he adds.

Despite being a sport full of action and dramatic moments, volleyball is struggling for attention in India. “There is popularity; but not enough media coverage and that hasn’t been positive for the game. But I hope the new league will prove to be a solution for everything that is a hindrance for this sport in India,” says Saqlain.

“With the arrival of the league, we will get recognition; and I am confident that from there onwards, Indian volleyball will only go up,” Saqlain signs off. The spiker has represented India U-21 at the Brics Games in Johannesburg, South Africa where the team won a bronze. Saqlain has also captained India at the 10th Asian Youth Volleyball in Colombo in 2014.

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Publish date : 2019-01-05 05:45:05

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