A youth from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district has qualified for international martial art championship which will begin on July 19 of this year in the Southeast Asian country of Philippines.
MaroofHilal Sofi, 20, son of Hilal Ahmad Sofi, a resident of Frestabal Pampore, is one among the selected players from Jammu and Kashmir who will represent their country in the Philippines for international martial art championship.
“I was toiling hard for playing internationals for quite a long time,” Maroof said, adding that he is eyeing on winning a gold medal for his country.
He revealed that securing a place for internationals is a happy moment for him because every player dreams of reaching internationals.
He informed that for reaching internationals he practiced consistently despite falling short at previous attempts.
He said that he started from district level where he won a gold medal after which he was selected for state level where he again clinched gold.
Thereafter, he secured a national berth and subsequently played for the national championship organized by Thang Ta federation of India where he repeated his spectacular performance which made him eligible for internationals.
“I played nationals in Karnataka in 2018 but couldn’t qualify, I had to settle for bronze,” he said, adding that the Karnataka experience was heartbreaking for him but his dream to compete at global level made him practice hard.
He added that he went through the cycle from district to national level a couple of times.
He said that it was in 2020 he won Gold in a championship organized by Thang Ta federation of India in Goa. With the win he was selected for internationals.
“I am happy to see my name in the list of qualifiers for the international martial art championship being organised by Arnis federation Philippines,” he said, adding that he will be playing in the senior category.
He is leaving for Delhi on Friday from where he will board the Philippines to take part in the competition.
So far Maroof has won 8 Gold medals at national level and 9 at state level. He is the head coach at Pampore Thang Ta academy where he trains around 21 students in this sport.
He appreciated district administration Pulwama for sponsoring him to take part in the event.