Think of the term ‘international karate champion’ and chances are that you’ll likely picture a young lithe male sporting a traditional white karate suit with a white, yellow, green, red or black belt tied around his waist.
Well, 19-year-old Nargis Hameedullah from Quetta, Pakistan, has succeeded in breaking that stereotypical perception by becoming the country’s FIRST female karate player to win a medal on August 25, 2018 at the 18th Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Let that sink in.
First. Female. Pakistani. Wins a bronze in international karate event.
She won a bronze medal after beating Nepal’s Rita Karki 3-1 in the women’s 68+ kilogram kumite karate competition. Nargis, who belongs to the Hazara town in Quetta, has been the national karate champion for the past five years. She won a gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the South Asian Karate Championships held in Sri Lanka last year.
Retired Lt. General, Arif Hasan, president of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and Khalid Mahmood, secretary of the POA, congratulated Nargis for her fighting capabilities and winning a bronze for the country, as did other government officials.
We congratulate Nargis Hameedullah for winning bronze medal in karate at Asian games. Nargis has set an example for Pakistani younge women. We wish her the best of luck!
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) August 27, 2018
Pakistani female cyclist, Samar Khan congratulated the young karate master saying, “This is just the start of [Pakistani] women taking up sports, focusing on physical fitness and building confidence. We still have a long way to go.”
However, as they say little drops of water make the mighty ocean and Nargis’ victory symbolizes the empowerment struggle of women in Balochistan who are slowly and steadily fighting against cultural barriers of patriarchy. In a video message, Nargis can be seen raising her fist and exclaiming, “Papa, I did it!” She thanked her father, Hameedullah, as well as her coaches, Ghulam Ali and Shah Mohammad Shan – both SAF Games gold medalists in karate – saying that her dream is “to win a gold for Pakistan”.
An excited Nargis told the media, “I was confident of winning a medal for my country in the Asian Games and God has given me the fruit of my hard work today. I have proved that girls from Quetta can participate in international sporting events.”
Encouraging other female athletes Nargis said: “I believe that Pakistanis should not make excuses. That is my advice to other female athletes. We always think that being a Pakistani we can’t achieve much, but we can.”
Officials from her home province appreciated her expertise and her will to pursue her dreams. Mir Jam Kamal Aliyani, the Chief Minister of Balochistan, said that Nargis made her country and its people proud by demonstrating her exceptional skills at an international sporting event. He also added that the youth of Balochistan is extremely talented and needs avenues to hone and portray their abilities.
Pakistani Karate player#Nargis_Hameedullah Frm #Hazara Tribe #Queeta Balochistan Has Grabbed The Second Medal For The Country Today In The #AsianGames
Pride Of Nation#Nargis_Hameedullah@fawadchaudhry @OfficialDGISPR @peaceforchange @mubasherlucman pic.twitter.com/I7m2Kg9XMH
— Jäwådi Jâffãrêý (@jawadi313) August 25, 2018
Pakistan has remained unbeaten in the 18th Asian Games so far, having scored four big wins against Thailand, Oman, Kazakhstan and Malaysia in successive games. The country currently ranks at 30 on the medals table with two bronze medals to its credit. The first bronze was won by the men’s kabaddi team which lost to South Korea in the semi-final on Friday, August 24, 2018.
The captain, Mohammad Rizwan Sr, seems quite positive about the team’s morale and preparation for the matches ahead. According to him, “We have not conceded a single goal in the Asiad so far, which is no mean feat”.
In other competitions, shooter Usman Chand topped by scoring 75 points in the men’s rifle shooting qualifying rounds while Abdul Sattar Sattee finished at the 24th position after scoring 65 points. In the rapid fire pistol event, Mohammad Khalil finished at 8th position after securing 577 points while Ghulam Mustafa Bashir finished at 12th position with 569 points.
In the bantam weight category (56 kg boxing), Pakistan’s Naqeebullah beat UAE boxer, Majid Alnaqbi, 3-0 but Pakistan’s female boxer, Rukhsana Parveen, lost to Indian boxer, Parvita, in the 60 kg contest.
In individual golf, Pakistan’s Taimur Khan and Ahmed Baig finished at the 7th and 14th positions respectively. In the badminton doubles contest, Pakistan’s duo comprising of Rizwan Azam and Kashif Ali lost 2-0 to Sri Lanka. In sailing, Pakistan’s Najeebullah finished at 11th after five races in the Standard Laser Class. Raja Qasim Abbas finished at the 7th position in the windsurfing RSX race while the duo of Khalid Hussain and Rehmanullah finished 9th in the 470 class races.
While the Asian Games 2018 will continue till September 2, 2018, we would like to take a moment to thank Nargis for making us proud and we hope she will strive even higher to achieve all her dreams in the future!
She has truly proven that there’s NOTHING stopping Pakistani women if they just put their mind to it!