UAE-based Pakistan youngster keen to pursue Tennis career

Hiba Khan - Writer 10:00 03/07/2016
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  • From Imran Khan to Shahid Afridi and Sana Mir, Pakistan is a nation known for churning out its legendary cricket players. And it is not every day that a Pakistani steals headlines in a sport other than cricket. That a girl should do it is even more uncommon.

    In April this year, 14-year-old Zoha Asim was the talk of the UAE tennis scene after winning her first major international title – the ATF 14 and under Tennis Championship held in Islamabad, Pakistan.

    The UAE-born Sharjah resident has now been inspired to pursue a career as a professional tennis player and hopes to become a role model for Muslim girls all over the world.

    Even at such a tender age, Asim is well aware of how girls from her family’s native Karachi and of Muslim backgrounds are held back due to cultural and societal pressures.

    “I want to become a world number one champion representing Pakistan and I also want to become an inspiration for all the Muslim girls out there in the entire world that if they set their minds to something they can achieve it,” the Oxford School, Dubai student told Sport360.

    The overwhelming passion for Cricket among Pakistanis tends to overshadow other sport in the country, something that proved a catalyst for Asim’s family to actively encourage her to pursue an interest in tennis.

    Zoha’s mother, Zaufishan, firmly believes her daughter’s dedication and hard-work changed her own family’s view on sport outside of cricket.

    Her flair for the sport was evident to her mother from a young age, a spark ignited when she was given a toy tennis racquet at three year’s old that Zoha played with for hours.

    Zaufishan thought that she might be interested in a racquet sport for a hobby, but never thought her daughter would wind up pursuing it professionally.

    “I see that how much she is putting in her game, so she keeps me motivated to actually think about her and think about her future in Tennis as well,” said Zaufishan.

    Asim’s win was reward for her long hours of training that her family invested in Wasl Club under her coach Shakeeb Jumayy – a former professional tennis player from Tunisia.

    She trains five hours a day, with the exception of Fridays and balances her family life and academics despite the pressure of the high expectations pinned on her.

    Jumayy has been training Asim for the past two years and was not surprised by her ATF win.

    “I have been working with Zoha for two years now and she did big, big improvement. By the way, all the things are coming to her because she is a real hard-worker. She listens and she is a very good student. She is very dedicated; she wants to succeed, so what she did in Islamabad doesn’t surprise me,” Jumayy added.

    Her hard-work and love for the sport precipitated her first significant victory, and her athletic abilities truly bloomed under the tutelage of her coach.

    If she remains this dedicated to the sport there is no telling how far Asim can go in the game.