Special Reports

Exceptional young footballing talent: Mariya Khan

Mariya Tehreem Khan was declared “Best Player of the Tournament” of “Suborto International Football Tournament-2014”. She was awarded and facilitated by Air Marshal Shri Raja Ram (Indian Air Force) in the prize distribution function held at Ambedkar Stadium on 10 October 2014 in New Delhi.

Mariya in blue with the ball

There are only a few times when one would be forced to get off their feet and take notice of a girl playing exceptional football, and that was the chance when Mariya Khan displayed her football skills at the Subroto Cup 2014 Under-17 Girls League. The 9th Grader at Delhi's Gyan Bharti School, turned 14 on 22nd July 2014, displayed an amazing understanding of the game coupled with footballing skills which are rare to find in a child this young. The young lady displays maturity beyond her years at the field, she plays an unselfish game, creates numerous through balls for her mates, turns and runs like the wind, is talented with the use of her feet and shows strength and accuracy. The girl plays a strong midfield switching roles to that of an attacker and a defender but is challenged only by lack of fitness although she was fitter than many.

Mariya with her parents after the award ceremony

If Maria gets a good coach, she could be an asset for any team she plays for and she is definitely the kind which the India team needs.

The girl has a doting parents in Mr Adil Khan and Ms Naghma Khan, who support her in everything she likes to do but seem disappointed at the limited support which is now being extended to Mariya from the school for participation in sports. Needless to say that as a culture we need to go a long way to be supportive of young sporting talent and make sports a reckoning. What is important to mention here is that Gyan Bharti's Principal - Ms Neelam Sharma was there to cheer her team, which is great! We hope we had more educators like her who think sports is important and that presence and support can make a huge impact, however, while some schools realise the importance, only a miniscule have a program which nurtures and supports the talent by means of proper coaching, extra study support and such more.

Thankfully our star here - Mariya, is also a great student and scores above average marks. She dreams of becoming a footballer and is capable of becoming a doctor. Guess we'll just have to wait and watch if her dream really takes a flight or it meets the usual fate of an Indian child who is pushed into an academic career, whatever it be, her parents intend to stand by her in her choice. (Excerpted from ourdreamrun.com)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 November 2014 on page no. 13

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