Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Saba Anjum: Muezzin's daughter is now Indian hockey team captain

Saba Anjum
The story of Saba Anjum Karim, 26, is nothing short of a fairy tale.

It has been a long and tough journey for the girl from Durg (Chhattisgarh) who has finally managed to turn her dream into reality.

Saba is now the captain of Indian women's hockey team. Today she is a role model not just for Muslims but all young girls who come from unprivileged background.

The daughter of a muezzin, who got barely Rs 400 a month, Saba, overcame the odds and her determination got her into the national team. Over the years, she became an integral part of the team.

Finally, the veteran striker was named captain of the squad that will play a four test series in Australia. The team will also participate in the three nation nine-a-side international super series championship there.

Unlike the Pathan brothers--Irfan and Yusuf Pathan, who also came from humble background to play international cricket, Saba Karim's fight, which is even more remarkable as she also had to fight gender discrimination apart from financial hardships, finds little mention in mainstream media.

But it doesn't matter much for Saba, who says that its an honour to play for the country and even more to lead the national team. Her success is already inspiring girls in Chhattisgarh. Saba had held stick at an early age and his father, who gave Azaan [call to devotees at a mosque], supported his youngest daughter.
Saba Anjum (extreme right)

Saba had played in the IHF's Under-18 which India had won in 2000. After the gold medal in commonwealth games, she got recognition.

Saba scored the winning goal in final of the four-nation Shastri Cup and had had six goals to her credit in tournament.

In her interview to a local radio station, she said that she didn't have any idea that one needed a passport after getting selection in the national team.

But that was long back. Now she is an established player and also the skipper. There is good news from personal front also. The experienced striker has just got engaged to former hockey player Abdul Fahim Khan, whom she has known since her childhood.

The engagement ceremony was held in Durg recently. Our best wishes to her. The success of sporting stars like Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, and now Saba Anjum will certainly inspire more girls to take to sports and earn a name for themselves and the country.