Tajamul Islam

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Tajamul Islam did India proud by winning the World sub-junior Kickboxing Championship in 2016
Tajamul Islam
Photo: Riyaz-u-Rehman, Catch News
Tajamul Islam at age 8.
Photo: The Telegraph Calcutta

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


Highlights of her career

How 8-year-old Tajamul Islam became world kickboxing champion: 10 interesting facts, 21 Nov, 2016, Compiled by Devika Bhattacharya with inputs from Agencies

Kashmir's 8-yr-old world kickboxing champ returns to hero's welcome, M Saleem Pandit & Bilal Bahadur | Nov 21, 2016, The Times of India

First female Kashmiri kickboxer to represent India is all of seven-years-old, Riyaz-ur-Rahman @CatchNews | 16 April 2016

When the then seven-year-old Tajamul Islam, entered the ring, she ceased to be a kid, Riyaz-ur-Rahman wrote, six months before the world woke up to Tajamul’s genius. 'Her lean and agile figure, weighing just 25 kg, becomes taut, her endearing little face stiffens, soon acquiring a menacing look. Action follows soon after. Her feet start dancing and her fists fly. Armed with a chest guard, headgear and gloves, her lightening punches and kicks hardly let the opponent respond.'

At age eight in 2016 Tajamul Islam (born 2008) made India proud when she won the World Kickboxing Championship in Italy. She was the first ever Indian in the sub-junior category to clinch a gold medal. Tajamul triumphed not just over opponents, but also against many odds. Here's all you need to know about this wonder-kid.

Kickboxing isn't a sport for the faint-hearted. A combat sport that blends boxing and kicking, you could be at the receiving end of a fierce roundhouse kick or shaken to the bone by a right hook.

1. Tajamul Islam is from a little-known village called Tarkpora in Kashmir's Bandipora district. Bandipora is also the district which recorded the maximum number of schools being burnt during the then ongoing four month unrest in Kashmir valley.

For over two decades now, Bandipora has lived through deadly shoot-outs, burning of schools and unending funeral processions. But in Nov 2016, this town in north Kashmir witnessed a rare, almost forgotten, scene: hundreds of men and women dancing on the streets in joy.

The reason for this outpouring of elation was the arrival of local girl Tajamul Islam, an eight-year old coached by the Army, who struck gold and became the world sub-junior kickboxing champion last week in Italy.

2. Her family isn't very wealthy. Her father works as a driver with the private Hindustan Construction Company, earns a meagre Rs 15,000 to support her mother and four siblings. The gritty class II student of the Army-run Goodwill School in Bandipora trained for two months in New Delhi.

"I have two sisters and two brothers, who are also studying in army school and Kendriya Vidyalaya in Bandipora. Army has been kind in providing good education to the urban population in particular," Tajamul said.

3. Tajamul's natural aptitude for kickboxing was first spotted by the Army Goodwill School in Tarkpora. Tajamul was all praise for the Army. "I am indebted to my parents, coaches, including Rawat sir, Yogesh sir and Dalal sir. Rawat sir really worked hard to prepare me for the international championship. The Army extended huge support to me," she said.

It was only in 2014 that she was sent by her Army school to participate in the districts martial arts championship organized by Faisal Ali Dar, a martial arts instructor and coach. Ali runs a martial arts academy in the town.

But there was no proper infrastructure in place to train for the sport. Tajamul's coach Faisal Dar trained her in an open field with makeshift apparatus.

"She is a brilliant student and has earned a freeship," said her father Ghulam Mohammad Lone, a driver with a private construction company.

Tajamul won the competition but Dar wouldn't let go of her. He called her father and requested him to hand the girl over to him for more training. He agreed but with the condition that all his children will come. Tajamul attended the academy after school hours, with her four siblings from the nearby locality, where her family then shifted from their village.

4. Despite these odds, Tajamul persevered and practiced at least 25 hours a week.

5. Her first major win was at the state-level championship in Jammu in 2015 where she won a gold medal in the sub-junior category.

6. Soon after that, she won the national gold in the same category at the 2015 National Kickboxing Championship in Delhi.

7. It was after the national medal that she was seen as a real hope for the World Kickboxing Championship, and in September 2016, she moved to Delhi to begin training for it. Tajamul left her village Tarkpora, located about 65km from Srinagar, for Delhi with her parents in September to prepare for the championship when the state was reeling under violent protests that started in July after the killing of Hizbul terrorist+ Burhan Wani.

8. Once in Delhi, it was Tajamul's family that paid for her expenses, spending almost Rs 1 lakh. Lone said he spent over Rs 1 lakh on her stay and other expenses during the training period, while the Army paid for the entire family's air travel.

9. At the world championship, the child prodigy won six bouts in five days to lift the trophy in the sub-junior category.

10. Tajamul has now inspired her sister to train and compete in kickboxing. She herself dreams of becoming an Army doctor when she grows up.

11. "I was nervous before going to Italy but my coaches encouraged me. Then I thought about the image of Kashmir and of India and ultimately, I made it," little Tajamul said.

She was felicitated by the Army and received cash reward worth Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 from CM Mehbooba Mufti and governor NN Vohra. Tajamul then started preparing for a kickboxing competition to be held in Bihar. Interestingly, her sister is also competing in the same championship.



Worlds gold

Saleem Pandit, Oct 30, 2021: The Times of India

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 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. Tajamul dreams of becoming an orthopaedic surgeon. “I want to break as well as join the bones by becoming a ‘bone and joint’ doctor,” Tajamul laughed. Tajamul is also a brand ambassador of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme. “My mummy always encouraged me and she impressed upon my father to allow me to play the game,” she said. “I feel proud of my daughter. The news of her winning the gold has spread in the area,” Tajmul’s father said.

“Tajamul got into kickboxing in 2014 when she joined a local academy, which trains young boys and girls in martial arts in Bandipora,” her father said.

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