Inshallah, Zindagi bohot badal gayi hai, pehchaan mil gayi hai, says Saqlain Tariq
Somewhere around the end of the last decade, Mohammad Tariq Khan, a sportsman himself, sent his 12-year-old-son across the state border to Khanna, a non-descript village near Ludhiana, Punjab so that the boy could go on to achieve his still-raw dreams. The son, whenever homesick, would go to his coach’s house to experience a bit of whatever he could salvage from his own home’s memories. He was at life’s crossroads. There were dreams. And there was home. He chose dreams. And it paid off handsomely.<br><br><br>Captaining the Indian youth side at the 2014 Asian Championship in Sri Lanka, the 17-year-old boy tried to take it all in. At his first match, he looked up at the packed stands and snippets of his life invaded his mind. He thought about his parents, the valley of Kashmir, and a lot more a normal person could never even think of.<br><br><br>More similar experiences followed soon for Saqlain Tariq when he became the heart throb of the inaugural season of RuPay Pro Volleyball League in 2019. But the boy from Poonch firmly believes that he has just started and a call-up for the national camp ahead of the Asian Games is a testimony to it. <br><br><br>Recently, he opened up about his days of struggle, time with U Mumba Volley and the post RuPay PVL life.<br><br> <br>Life post RuPay PVL<br><br>Zindagi bohot badal gayi hai, pehchaan mil gayi hai. The biggest positive has been that we are finally getting proper recognition for all the years of hard work we have put in. Sony TV telecasts the games, so that’s good for us. This recognition also leads us to put in more effort, work harder. We players are all the more motivated now.<br><br><br>Importance of Discipline<br><br>For any athlete, discipline sits at the top. Without discipline, we are nowhere. It is so important that without it, a person is stripped of identity. And of course, it is very easy to get carried away and hence it is crucial to stay disciplined, to remember all the years of hard work, to remember your roots and carry on. With that said, discipline is not important only in sports, but in every sphere of life. You cannot achieve anything without it, be it sports, studies or any field you are in.<br><br><br>Time with U Mumba<br><br>I honestly learnt a lot from my time at the RuPay Pro Volleyball League. There is so much I need to work on. Nick Del Bianco and Tomislav are the most down-to-earth people I have seen. Very polite and more importantly, very helpful. All of us practiced together since it is a team game, but they had a few specific methods for themselves, which was also a learning curve for me and the rest of the team. There were subtle yet powerful differences in the way we trained.<br><br><br>Sports in Jammu and Kashmir<br><br>Main kya batau, itna talent hai J & K mein. Par infrastructure aur equipment ki kami hain. Other states have sports hostels, sports talent scouts. We don’t have even a single Sports Authority of India center here. There was one in Udhampur, but it got closed down for reasons unknown. I am doing my best to change this, but as long as political differences remain, we might not see a lot of change. People have to come to a consensus.<br><br><br>On selection for the Senior National Camp<br><br>To be honest, I was overwhelmed with emotions. I was sitting at home when I received a letter from VFI asking me to report for the senior camp in two days. I don’t know what to say, but I got very emotional. All the effort I had put in, the sacrifices my family has and still makes for me, my coaches and the whole journey, all swept through my mind in a flash. Ek sapna tha Zindagi mein, aur woh poora hone jaa raha hai. But with all that said, I need to stay disciplined, focus on my weaknesses, and work harder and harder. I am going to put in my best, there is no lack of motivation.<br><br><br>On his growing up days away from home<br><br>Despite the massive desire to be good at the game, homesickness was a problem. Ghar ki toh badi yaad aati thi. But this is where my coach, Mr. Amrik Singh Ji, helped me a lot. Sir’s house was only walking distance from the academy, and I used to go there whenever I felt homesick. Sir’s wife is like my own mother. I respect them a lot, and I would forever be indebted to them for all that they did for me. And to do that for someone who was not their son, or a close one, it was life-defining for me.<br><br><br>On Poonch and his father’s academy<br><br>Poonch has traditionally been a sport-loving community. Sport is a way of life here.<br>My father’s academy tries to provide a lot of the kids here a platform to achieve their sporting dreams. I don’t think he will ever close it. It means a lot to him and all of us. We recently had a summer camp where around 30-40 children were given training. We have facilities for volleyball and kabaddi at the centre, though my father routinely conducts cricket, football, badminton and hockey tournaments.
RuPay Pro Volleyball League
An initiative of Baseline Ventures India Pvt. Ltd and Volleyball Federation of India, RuPay Pro Volleyball League aims to transform the sporting landscape of the country by elevating the world’s fifth most popular sport to the league of the most followed sports in the coming times. The first season of the league will see 6 teams playing a total of 18 matches in Chennai and Kochi, and will be broadcasted on Sony Six, Sony Ten 3 and online platform Sony Liv.
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