No stadiums, Kashmir’s martial art guru grooms international champion kids in hinterland

Running sports academy which trains over 3000 children, Master Fasil Ali says politicians come only for selfies

This 25-year-old martial arts coach is grooming champion-kids in his state Kashmir. From world’s youngest kickboxing champion Tajamul Islam to seven-year-old Hasim Masoor who recently bagged a gold medal in Asian Youth Karate Championship, Fasil Ali aka Master Fasil, trains them all.

But grooming kids hasn’t been a cakewalk for this former kickboxing champion, who bagged a gold medal for India in 2013.

Running short of resources, Ali says, he trains his kids in the hinterland of his native Bandipora, 65 km from Srinagar. “I train my kids at a place 50 years backward than Srinagar. We don’t have facilities, so we train kids mainly in forest areas,” Ali told InUth during an interview.

For him, training kids have been a dream since the day he was himself just a kickboxing-boy. In his teens in 2005, he opened Ali Sports Academy with a handful of fellow kids.

A decade on, the academy has grown manifold. With over 3000 kids on rolls, it trains children in multiple sports. “My basic aim is to let children play and make them understand which sports they are good at. I equally counsel their parents that they should not discourage kids from sports,” the coach says.

Ali, however, says the role of the state government towards promotion of sports has been negligible. “They only come to take selfies when our champion kids happen to be in news. Otherwise, when you need them for the promotion of sports, they only make you wait in the corridors of power.” Citing example he said had Army not to come up with support for Tajamul Islam, the eight-year-old would never have been able to emerge as world champion.“Absolutely satisfied” with his achievements, Ali says: “I am happy that my kids are eyeing to bag gold in Olympics. I see my dreams realizing through them.”

“Absolutely satisfied” with his achievements, Ali says: “I am happy that my kids are eyeing to bag gold in Olympics. I see my dreams realizing through them.”

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