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UP: Vegetable vendor’s daughter defies odds to shine at Women’s Junior World Cup hockey | Lucknow News

LUCKNOW: At the receiving end of incessant taunts for not bearing a male child, beleaguered Qaiser Jahan finally gave birth to a son after six daughters in 2010.
However, little did the family know that one of the daughters would give a befitting reply to the patriarchal society one day, making her proud and elated father ask the whistle worthy dialogue from Aamir Khan starrer ‘Dangal’ “Maari chhoriyan chhoron se kam hai ke ?”
On Saturday, all roads led to the house of 19-year-old Mumtaz Khan at Topkhana Bazar in Cantonment area as she took India’s scoreline to 3-1 against Wales by converting a brilliant field goal in the 41st minute during the FIH Women’s Junior World Cup hockey at Potchefstroom in South Africa. India won the match 5-1.
The only player from Uttar Pradesh in the team, Mumtaz, might be winning accolades for her heroic goal, but her journey to Potchefstroom was full of roadblocks.
Talking to TOI over phone from Potchefstroom, a jubilant Mumtaz gave it back to the torch-beaers of patriarchy, saying, “Betiyan bhi beton se kam nahi hoti hain, apni ankhein kholiye duniya walon kyunki betiyan Daughters bhi ek khati hati hain ( are not less than boys. The world should wake up as daughters too make their mark one day)”
“My journey won’t stop here… I have my eyes set on the senior world cup and want to represent India at the Olympics too.We will face Germany on Sunday and right now we are in ab attack mode as our only aim is to demolish Germany,” she said.
Despite earning a meagre Rs 300 a day, Mumtaz’s father Hafiz, a vegetable vendor, has been her pillar of strength. Though her mother her was initially opposed to her interest her in sports, Hafiz was able to convince her. “Eid has come early for us this year,” said Said Hafiz as tears of joy rolled down his eyes.
“The society always longs for a “prized possession” — a son — as it thinks the family is deemed “incomplete” without a boy. But, daughters are a gift from heaven and Mumtaz has proved this,” he said.
Nurturing Mumtaz’s sports dream was not easy for Hafiz. “We live in a small room with a tin roof. I am hardly able to make both ends meet. So, nurturing her sports dream her was not easy … But today, all the hardships faced by the family have borne results and I am proud that my daughter is playing for the country, “he told TOI.
Groomed by her coach Neelam Siddiqui at KD Singh Babu Stadium’s Sports Hostel, Mumtaz also had another goal apart from hockey — to sell vegetables in her free time so that her father could rest. In 2011, Mumtaz went to Agra to participate in a race, when she was spotted by Siddiqui. Soon, hockey became her passion. Since her mother her was averse to her sports activities her, she gave trials without informing her her ‘ammi’ her. “I always wanted her to take care of her siblings and assist me in household work. But, she too was determined. She has proved everyone wrong with her sheer hard work and a never-say-die attitude,” said Qaiser.
The Indian Junior Women’s Hockey team made a winning start to their campaign at the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup at Potchefstroom as they beat Wales 5-1 in their first pool D match. Goals were scored by Lalremsiami (4′), Lalrindiki (32′, 57′), Mumtaz Khan (41′) and Deepika (58′) while Millie Holme (26′) was the lone goal scorer for Wales.

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