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Female athletes find platform to shine in Pakistan

Batter Sania of Peshawar trying to play astroke on leg side during the Mrs. Saad Women's Cricket Tournament. (Photo:PSWF)
by Amjad Aziz Malik, Secretary General, AIPS Asia

PESHAWAR, November 23, 2017 - Women in Pakistan are very much showing their presence in national sport and their achievements especially in cricket, squash, hockey etc. provide credible proof that they would be second to none in sports as well. Gone are the days when only men used to represent the country internationally in the field of sports. Now one may find women players raising the level of sport in every game.

The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, situated in the northwest of the country, used to bear the perception that its people could never tolerate the visibility of women in any form of sporting activity.

This kind of perception was in fact totally against the ground realities, since many women even belonging to remotest parts of the province were used to and still are seen contesting every game of their choice.

Last year, Malik Saad Shaheed Memorial Sports Trust; a volunteer body engaged in promoting sports, arranged a women cricket tournament in the name of “Mrs. Saad Invitation Cricket Tournament” at the Arbab Niaz International Cricket Stadium which is one of the best sports facility in the provincial capital. It was a wonderful experience for many fans of sports, the cricket in particular. This time the event is in progress at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University, Peshawar. The players responded with deep excitement, highlighting that the pleasant memories of the last year’s tournament are still alive in their minds.

Provincial Secretary Javed Khan Marwat formally opened the Mrs Saad Khan Women's Cricket Championship. (Photo:PSWF)

One of the teenage cricket player participating in the tournament is Ayesha, who hails from Abbottabad and bears the honour to have attended the “Pakistan National Cricket Camp” was very vocal about the initiative. “That day last year is impossible to be ignored, when women cricket players dispelled the perception of lagging behind in sports in presence of 5,000 male spectators at the Arbab Niaz International Cricket Stadium by presenting their courageous performance.”

This time too, Ayesha is participating in the the Mrs. Saad Women'a Invitation Cricket Tournament and in completing a century in her first match, she has indeed created a niche for her in the minds of everyone. This provincial level tournament includes one female cricket team each from the Charsadda, Nowshera, Mardan, Haripur and Abbottabad districts besides three teams of the provincial capital, Peshawar.

The credit for this success story can equally be shared by the Youth Affairs Directorate of the provincial government. The new Director of the department, Mr. Asfandyar Khattak is engaged in promoting and encouraging female youth in sports. The Malik Saad Memorial Sports Trust has indeed done a great job in acknowledging the sacrifices of the Shaheed Police Officer Malik Saad, which has Mr. Khattak has been desiring.

The event is proving a rare opportunity for the women players of this part of the country in getting their abilities and sporting skills realized. Today, the tournament is the attractive topic of discussions at every top sports forum across the country. Even many players, hailing from other parts of the country are aspiring to participate in the event which is changing dialogue for the better in Pakistan.

The Captian of Mardan Cricket Team directing fielders at the match against Abbottabad. (Photo:PSWF)

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