SRINAGAR: A Class 12 student at Burn Hall School, and from a middle-class background that could not afford ice skates, Basharat Ahad Mir represented India in the 2019 International Short Track Speed Skating Championship held in Belarus. Speaking to Kashmir Reader, Mir said it was a dream come true to play the sport at the highest level and to represent the country.
A resident of Srinagar’s Parimpora area, Mir said his decision to take up ice skating professionally was supported by his family. His decision was vindicated when he was selected for the international championship in Belarus in 2019. He was part of a 4-member Indian team which won the International Skating Union trophy at the event.
Basharat said his passion for ice skating started when he was nine. “With the passage of time I started taking the sport seriously. I opted for ice skating as it’s a unique and different game,” he said.
Mir said he used to practice on the ice in the harsh winter in Gulmarg, even in the dead of night when the ice was thick. It caused him several health problems, “but it didn’t deter my determination,” he said.
“I had to face a lot of challenges and difficulties to reach this level. I belong to a middle-class family and I did not have skates of my own as they are costly. In 2019 when I appeared for the selection trial held at New Delhi, I rented the ice skates from the government ski shop at Gulmarg.
“Due to the grace of Almighty Allah and my parents’ blessings, I reached this level that is every sportsperson’s dream – to represent your country at the highest level,” Mir said.
“I think the key is not to stop and always to think that all the struggles are temporary,” he said.
On his plans for the future, he said, “I want to represent India in the Olympics. To participate in the Olympics is every sportsperson’s dream.”
Mir is also interested in cycling and has been competing at the top level in J&K. Talking about challenges that sportspersons in Kashmir face, he said, “Sports infrastructure in Kashmir has improved a lot but still more has to be done. Our young players have exhibited their talent on every platform; they just miss a lack of exposure and need proper coaching.”