From Life Terminating Thoughts To Being A Canoe Para-Athlete

A six year-boy from Kenihama Nowgam village in the Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir lost his right leg in an accident. But the will in him didn't stop from achieving great miles and became a symbol of hope and resilience for the people with disabilities. Now, 26-year old Gowhar Ahmad has emerged as the first para-athlete from Kashmir in water sports and encouraged several young people with disabilities from the region to opt for sporting activities and pursue it as a profession

Published On: December 01, 2023 23:42 | 6 Photos

As a kid, Gowhar Ahmad faced bullying and discrimination in school. He mentioned how his classmates used to call him Langda, and how he had to wait to go to the washroom till he reached home as even that was a huge task for him to do alone.

By 2010, his disability was affecting his mental health and the thought of terminating his life was the only option he could think of. But just a thought of his mother, Marima Bhanu, who never never lost sight of him since he was a six-year-old boy, brought him back to his senses and initiated the spark to not go the easy way.

In 2021, the 26-year old was recommended to join a sporting activity for his physical and mental well-being, by his physiotherapist, Dr Amreen, and he was met with Bilquis Mir, former international canoeing player and director at the Water Sports Centre in Nehru Park, Kashmir. This is when he entered the world of Canoeing.

Ms Bilquis said that as a beginner, Gowhar would hardly complete a distance of 1 kilometre in Canoeing and how difficult the initial few days were of the training.

Starting with the basic gym practising for three months to one year for crucial practice, Gowhar was ready to participate in the national Para-Canoe event in 2022, held at the Upper Lake in Bhopal and emerged as a formidable competitor, securing an impressive fourth position.

His extraordinary journey from overcoming mental health issues like the thought of dying by suicide to being acclaimed nationally in the water sport, is a testament to the power of persistence and an unyielding spirit

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