“Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose-it teaches you about life”
Billie Jean King.
Sports in today’s life has become really important. With the kind of sedentary or routine lifestyle that one lives, sports or a physical activity is sure to bring a life style change in a person. Like Mawlana Hazar Imam says that education has no age bar, sports or any physical activity should not have an age bar. While a few start young, it’s never too old to play a sport. Our Ismaili community too has sports players that have gained a lot of recognition. In a candid chat we spoke to a few sportspersons from our community and they all encourage the Jamat to start a physical activity.
The joy of scoring a goal, winning a game, and celebrating with the team is what keeps the footballer in Alique going. A huge fan of Christiano Ronaldo, Alique has been playing football ever since he was a kid. Alique has been playing football with a lot of different teams. He played for his school team, and also captained his university and corporate team. He has also played Ismaili tournaments for Yuwan FC and also represented India in the Jubilee games in Dubai. Not just that he has also played Futsal (Indoor Football) for Mumbai, Maharashtra and India. Alique owes his success to his parents without whom all these achievements wouldn’t have been possible. Alique says “I believe, everyone should play at least one sport, any sport! You don’t have to be the best. It will help you stay fit; it is the best outlet to release your stress. Besides, sports teaches us so many life lessons - leadership, teamwork, unity, perseverance, sportsmanship, accepting failure and defeat gracefully, learning from your mistakes and improving them but most of all, to have fun”.
Shahzain has always cherished sports, but it was only when he participated in various track and field events in school that he realised his talent and discovered his passion for high jump. Inspired by a Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim, Shahzain looks up to his success which motivates him to do well. Shahzain has been participating in the All Maharashtra Anglo Indian Inter School Athletic Olympiad since 2016 and even broke a long held record. He has also bagged a gold medal at the United World games 2018 which was held in Austria for U-16 high jump boys’ event. Shahzain not only made his parents proud but his country proud as well. He says that his mother takes an active interest in his diet and his father is the supporting body and his sister has been his best friend throughout. Talking about the importance of sports Shahzain says “In a progressive and extremely competitive world like ours people may get busy and not be able to devote as much time to fitness and health. Sports plays a very important role in any ordinary person’s life, whether athlete or non-athlete, and has many benefits”. Shahzain won 1st position in high jump and got Gold medal at the AISM Maharashtra level Athletic Meet in Mumbai on 7th of Sept 2018 and is currently looking forward to perform well at the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) and National Athletic Meet in September 2018 as it would be a step closer to his dream of representing India at The Olympics. Giving a message to the Jamat Shahzain says, “One should start inclining their interest towards sports as it is crucial for the holistic development of an individual’s personality. It not only has physical health benefits but also helps one keep a positive state of mind. This is not only important for children and the youth but for any age group. I always have and always will encourage their participation in sport events”.
Arsh Poonawala a football player says it’s his passion and dream to be an international soccer player. Inspired by the legendary player Christiano Ronaldo, Arsh started to play football at an early age of 8 years. Mondel ground and Juhu beach were his places of practice until his mother noticed his passion and decided to take his love for the game forward by enrolling him at the D'souza football academy (DFA). After that there was no looking back for Arsh as he was selected by the School sports federation of India that is associated with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to play football U-17 for FISEC (Federation de Internationale school of sports.) that is recognised by IOC (International Olympics Committee). Arsh represented India in the FISEC games 2018 that were held in Belgium. Arsh says “I had confidence in myself, my game and talent skills which I learnt. Above all I read a quote by Derek Jeter: ‘There may be people that are more talented then you but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you’, this further inspired me to only rise and work harder”. According to Arsh sports is a culture where minds meet and there is team spirit-unity to achieve and work towards one goal. Crediting his achievements Arsh says “Being a single parent my mother made sure that that my dreams were not compromised and I had full support of my grandparents.” Arsh who is also fond of playing chess is currently practicing for another tournament to be held in Dubai in April 2019.