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From The Brink Of Despair To Sporting Success – Physically Challenged Kashmiri Youth Defies Odds In Water Sports

Last year, in 2022, Gowhar Ahmed, a young athlete from Budgam district, participated in the Para Canoe event held at the Upper Lake in Bhopal

From The Brink Of Despair To Sporting Success - Physically Challenged Kashmiri Youth Defies Odds In Water Sports
Gowhar's journey serves as a reminder to society that individuals with special physical abilities are not defined by their limitations but by their determination and courage

Budgam: Gowhar Ahmed, a young athlete from Budgam district in central Kashmir, has emerged from the shadows of despair to become a symbol of hope and resilience for youth with special physical abilities. His incredible transformation, from the brink of self-destruction to national recognition in para canoeing, is a testament to the power of determination and an unwavering spirit.

Mr Ahmed revealed, reflecting on his darkest moments,

There was a time when I decided to commit suicide, and I went to Zero Bridge for this. Then suddenly, a ray of hope emerged.

Author Zubair Qureshi mentioned that, Gowhar’s path took a turn when he decided to join water sports and found support from Bilquess Mir, the first water sports coach from Srinagar and the first Olympic-level women’s kayaking and canoeing player from the Kashmir region. Mir’s guidance provided Gowhar a new direction.

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Last year, in 2022, Gowhar participated in the Para Canoe event held at the Upper Lake in Bhopal, the author wrote. Despite the odds stacked against him, he emerged as a formidable competitor, securing an impressive fourth position. Spectators were left in awe as Gowhar showcased his true potential on the national stage.

This achievement was the result of Gowhar’s unwavering dedication, relentless training, and the unwavering support of his coach, Bilquess Mir. Mir not only boosted Gowhar’s morale but also provided crucial financial assistance to enable his participation in the competition. Their bond transcended the role of coach and athlete, becoming a lifeline for Gowhar during his darkest moments. The athlete said,

Bilquess Mir has been my guiding light and pillar of strength throughout this journey. Her belief in my abilities and unwavering support has helped me overcome my inner demons and find the courage to pursue my dreams.

Mir recognized the extraordinary spirit within Gowhar and reflected on their journey together.

When I first met Gowhar, I saw a remarkable level of strength in him. His determination to excel in para canoeing and his unwavering spirit of never giving up inspired me as a coach. Together, we embarked on a training regimen that challenged him physically and mentally, pushing his limits and transforming him into a formidable athlete, she said.

Gowhar’s training regime mirrors that of any other elite athlete, despite his physical challenges. Endless hours of practice, gruelling workouts, and honing technical skills have become his way of life. His unwavering commitment has shattered stereotypes surrounding disability sports and propelled him forward.

Gowhar’s journey serves as a reminder to society that individuals with special physical abilities are not defined by their limitations but by their determination and courage. Through his accomplishments, he has become a symbol of hope for countless others facing similar challenges, igniting a movement that celebrates diversity and empowers youth with disabilities to pursue their passions.

As Gowhar looks toward the future, his sights are set on scaling new heights and conquering new waters. His story exemplifies the indomitable human spirit, reminding us that our struggles do not define us but rather shape us into the people we become. Once on the precipice of darkness, Gowhar Ahmed now stands as a shining example of resilience, triumph, and the power of the human will.

In his own words, Gowhar urges,

No matter how challenging life may seem, there is always a ray of hope that can guide us through the darkest of times. I urge everyone, especially the youth facing adversity, to embrace their unique abilities, chase their dreams relentlessly, and never let their circumstances define their potential.

Also Read:This 36-Year-Old Is India’s First Female Disabled Stand-Up Comedian Who Uses Humour To Shatter Notions On Disability

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toiletsare used and open defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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