Handwara| Dec 24: With one blow of her right hand the 15-year-old breaks a thick stack of tiles and rains five kicks with her left leg without the foot touching the ground. But ask the diminutive teenager about her biggest achievement and she replies with a shy smile:
“Not being afraid to return home late at night.”
To her achievement list Mehreen jan in addition to eight medals has won two gold medals while participating in two national and six district level karate championships in the past three years.
She has received her training at Ultimate Martial Arts Academy Handwara which is affiliated with Budokan Karate of Jammu Kashmir. Mehreen won a Gold (under-21, 45 kg) at the Hyderabad National Karate championships in Hyderabad, the latest in her medal kitty .
The Class XII student at Hill Park International School Handwara had her first brush with karate at a self-defence camp in 2014. About 30 girls had taken part in the camp, which was for most their first and last exposure to karate. But Mehreen stuck to the sport. It seemed a natural progression for the girl who was a regular participant at school athletic meets – 100 metres, high jump and long jump.
“The kicks, punches and roar were the gateways to an unknown world. There was an instant liking,” Mehreen recollected.
Mehreen counts her family as her biggest strength. “My father toils hard to earn for us but they have never asked me to quit karate. Papa and Mumma are my biggest supporters. Whenever I took part in any Karate tournament in any state my parents have been in the stands,” she says.
Mehreen has been selected for the 2019 international kick-boxing championship which is going to be held at United Arab Emirates in April 2019 where she will represent Kashmir and was recently nominated for the world championship.
Her coach Faisal Nazir had noticed a spark in Mehreen when she was only 11 years. “I was amazed by her confidence, her skills and aggression and I soon realized that she would make a mark in the sport.”
Mehreen while talking to Kashmir Despatch correspondent revealed that she has been selected for Dubai International Championship but has never received any financial help from government.