Uplifting women’s tennis across Pakistan
For more than two decades, Subh-e-Nau’s Sports Program has worked towards promoting sports, especially women’s tennis. While it has been a challenge, SN has uplifted women’s tennis with a vision towards their participation in the international arena.
Since 1990, Subh-e-Nau’s Chairperson Mrs. Shahida Kauser Farooq and former Pakistan No. 1 and Fed Cup member, Ms. Mahvish Chishtie have tirelessly campaigned and promoted tennis at all levels starting from the grassroots, all the way to producing national champions.
In their time frame, notable champions such as Sarah Mehboob, Sara Mansoor, Saba Aziz, Mehek Khokhar, Natasha Afridi, Nida Waseem, Ushna Sohail and others as well as international superstar Sania Mirza from India, have participated and benefitted from events hosted by Subh-e-Nau. Subh-e-Nau has also lobbied for revival of the women’s and men’s tour, international junior’s, and other national and international events in the country.
While Subh-e-Nau hosted local and national events in Karachi starting in early 1990s, nationally ranked tournaments in Islamabad started in 1995. In August 1997, for the first time in the history of Pakistan’s tennis, an exclusive, dedicated “All Pakistan Ladies’ National Ranking Tournament” was held featuring women tennis players from across the country.
Since then, Subh-e-Nau has hosted a total of 14 exclusive national events, while its other national events, which number more than 65 tournaments feature women tennis at various levels, including Ladies singles, doubles, under-18 and mixed doubles categories.
Subh-e-Nau also introduced the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) Juniors’ tour in the country. Interestingly, the then Indian tennis superstar, Sania Mirza, played for two such tournaments in 1997-98. Interestingly, she was defeated by the then Pakistani junior Nida Wasim, which goes to show that girls in the country have the talent but need more opportunity.
Addressing Public Health with Sports
A key to well-being and good health is physical exercise, which, unfortunately, is not a common practice across the country. This is especially true for our young generation which is not only largely preoccupied with the social media, the internet, computers and the like, but due to the junk fast food craze are also reaching high levels of obesity. Hence, the need for sports is at an all-time high. All in all, sport for youth is an essential ingredient to showcase their abilities in a positive direction and be the part of building a healthy society. Pakistan’s youth is well talented, and they have proved this whenever given a chance.
Notwithstanding other diseases and societal barriers, women need physical exercise as obesity increases the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. While there are many quick fixes such as fad diets, miracle pills and nutrients, a guaranteed key to eliminating obesity is only physical exercise and proper diet.
Moving together towards new horizons
The organization works closely with the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) supporting their efforts for a national cause. Subh-e-Nau has also distinguished itself from any organization, be it public or private, by providing support to players in the form of record level prize money, including women sportsmen who are not provided equal prize money in most local sports in the country.
By setting these standards, the organization also promotes equality for women in sport and strives for providing equal opportunity to all tennis players such that they can have careers in sports. As such, there are plans to build a Women’s Tennis Academy by Subh-e-Nau to achieve these objectives.
The SN Sports Program continues to work for promoting the sport of tennis in the country, which is sometimes misperceived as an ‘elite’ sport. There are many deserving players, officials, and other staff that benefit from events such as those mentioned above, in addition to promoting healthy activity for all involved.
The journey ahead is long and arduous, but as SN’s history proves, the organization’s programs have been undertaken in good faith, and will continue to make a bold difference in the country. Most recently, SN held a women’s tournament in Islamabad which is detailed next.
Women sports in Pakistan
Pakistan has always been in front row in different regional games especially in Cricket, Hockey, Athletics, Squash and to some extent Tennis as well. Though women in Pakistan have recently been not very active in sports, but exceptions are there, and Pakistani women have proved this on many platforms. In the recent past, Nasim Hameed has the honor of South Asia’s fastest female player while Kiran Khan made records in Swimming. Samina Khayal Baig is record breaker mountaineer. At the age of 25, she has scaled 7 mountains including Mount Everest. Palwash Bashir in Badminton and Maria Toorpakai Wazir broke the stereotypes in squash. Sarah Mahboob has been among top performers in tennis. Sana Mir of Pakistan has been in top ranked players of world cricket in different formats.
Writer: Seema Tahir
EIGHTEEN National Ladies Tennis Championship held in Islamabad
The National Ladies Tennis 2019 was a successful event which featured all the top female tennis players in great form with a new champion Ushna Suhail winning a double crown.
Women Sports in Pakistan are largely ignored due to many reasons including cultural and religious issues. Like in every walk of life, exceptions exist in sports as well and Pakistani women are not far behind men in sports when they are given opportunities.
Subh-e-Nau has been supportive of women sports in country to fulfill the dream of a healthy society. Keeping its struggle alive, the organization has brought exclusive women tennis event in Pakistan many years ago and now these events are a regular feature of its tennis calendar. This year, it took a step ahead and hosted two exclusive women tennis events in a year which is a record in Pakistan’s tennis circuit. First exclusive tennis event for women was held in January 2019 at Islamabad. The second one concluded in last week of September 2019. The National Ladies Tennis 2019 was a successful event which featured all the top female tennis players and saw a new champion, Ushna Suhail.
The tournament was held at S. Dilawar Abbas Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) Tennis Complex Islamabad was announced on 15th September and was sponsored by a real estate group EIGHTEEN. Shahzad Akhtar Alvi was the tournament referee while Mahvish Chishtie was the Tournament Director. The dates of the tournament were 25th to 29th September and it received overwhelming response by women players. Players from different cities participated in 6 different categories including Ladies Singles, Ladies Doubles, Girls U-18, Girls U-14, Girls U-14 and Girls U-10. Draw of Ladies Singles was of 32 which is rare in ladies’ events in Pakistan. Noted players like Sarah Mahboob, Sara Mansoor, Ushna Suhail, Mehek Khokhar and Noor Malik participated in the tournament.
In Girls events, talented upcoming player Shimza Naz was the top seed while others like Hania Minhas, Amna Ali Qayum, Mahrukh Farooqui and Mahnoor Farooqui shined during the tournament.
The first day’s matches were affected by rain in Islamabad and only first rounds of Ladies Singles and Girls U-14 could be played. In a thrilling opener of the tournament, Sehar Aleem thrashed Mahnoor Suhail of the event in a match lasted for more than two hours. Both players played well, but, Sehar Aleem won this by 6-4, 4-6 and 6-4 score line.
Interesting matches were seen in Girls’ all categories which shown that in future we will have new champions of the game. Young Hania Minhas remained star with two crowns to her name. She bagged Girls U-10 and U-12 titles with excellent display of the tennis. Earlier in January, she had outclassed all her age fellows in Subh-e-Nau’s tournament. Shimza Naz from Lahore is another upcoming promising star and is a regular player of Pakistan tennis circuit. She clinched Girls U-18 title after beating Zahra Suleman in a final which remained one sided due to Shimza’s excellent play. Shiza Sajid was the Champion of Girls U-14 category which she won after tough fight against Amna Ali Qayum.
Ladies Doubles final was played between pairs of Sarah Mahboob/Meheq Khokhar and Ushna Suhail and Sara Mansoor. Both experienced pairs played well in the match, but, Ushna and Sara Mansoor became victorious due to their better play in the end.
Ladies Singles category saw thrilling contests between experienced players. Ushna Suhail, who eventually became champion, avoided a defeat at the hands of Sara Mansoor in the second semifinal of the ladies’ singles. Ushna Suhail won first set but lost second one cheaply. Sara was well on course to win the final set and match when she was four games up, but Ushna turned the game to her way and played some aggressive game. Sara, who was relaxed of the game situation could not survive the aggression and lost the set and match. On the other hand, Sara Mahboob had an easy sailing to the final with the victory against a tired Meheq Khokhar. Meheq had defeated Noor Malik of Lahore in quarterfinal in a 3 set match a day before.
Ladies Singles final between Ushna Suhail and Sarah Mahboob was a classic match of Pakistan tennis circuit in front of a quality crowd. This match lasted for almost three hours. Both the players have loads of experience and international exposure in their hand and they showed this in the match. Ushna fought hard to win the first set in tie break. Sara showed her keen intent in second set and fought hard to win the second set with almost same margin by which she had conceded the set earlier. In final and decisive set, Sara despite taking some crucial points, couldn’t convert her effort into victory and Ushna won last set by conceding just single game.
Prize distribution ceremony was held after Ladies Singles final where Senator Syed Dilawar Abbas, Chairman Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Senior Vice Chairman Asian Tennis Federation was the Chief Guest. Eighteen’s Senior Director Mr. Uzair Adil, Chairperson Subh-e-Nau Shahida Kausar Farooq and several noted guests were also present on this occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Tournament Director Ms. Mahvish Chishtie briefed about SN activities. She said that our girls are not less talented to the men and they can prove when given opportunities. She thanked the sponsor EIGHTEEN and PTF for helping to host a successful event. She also thanked ground staff and referee for making this event a success despite continuous rainy spell in twin cities during tournament days. A total of 2 hundred thousand rupees were disbursed among players as prize money.
Writer : Abdul Aleem Chaudhry
Emergency Preparedness and Safety Tips to Survive an Earthquake
A deadly tremor has destroyed Mirpur (AJ&K) killing 40 and more than 700 injured victims are being treated at different hospitals as of now. How to keep safe in such events?
A magnitude 7.6 earthquake destroyed the entire Kashmir region, along with a few major cities of South Asia on October 8th, 2005. More than 80,000 people died by land sliding and structural collapse accidents as a result of the deadly earthquake of the 2000s. 10 years later, Hindu Kush earthquake struck the same region again on 26th October 2015, and now a deadly tremor has destroyed Mirpur (AJ&K) killing 40 and more than 700 injured victims are being treated at different hospitals as of now.
Earthquakes are frequent, unpredictable and one of the deadliest natural disasters. Although it can strike anywhere on the planet, yet people living in the regions with active fault lines should be well-prepared for the disaster all the times. These safety tips could make a difference between life and death during an earthquake.
Be prepared before it happens
We cannot stop or reliably predict an earthquake, but we can minimize the damage by making our homes, schools and workplaces safe.
Learn about your local building codes before you begin new construction.
Always ask the architect to include earthquake resistance in your building floor plan. You may also need to perform a structural strength test before beginning construction work to add another floor onto an existing building. Multistory buildings with weak structures are more prone to collapse during an earthquake.
Not all the structures fail during an earthquake; falling objects nonetheless may cause serious injury or death. Bolt and brace water heaters, electric and gas appliances, closets and dressing tables to wall studs.
Do not hang pictures, mirrors, plant pots or heavy pendant lights over the sofas, beds, dining table and anywhere people would normally sit or sleep.
Always store heavy and breakable objects on lower shelves.
Have a post-disaster plan ready. Each family member in a house or employee at the workplace should know where the gas shut off valve, first aid box and fire extinguishers are and how to properly use them.
Pack your emergency kit if you have not done it yet. This should include basic and lifesaving items in small quantities including medicines, a fully charged and reliable mobile phone with multiple network SIM cards and FM radio, hand wash/sanitizer and other hygiene products, a flashlight (preferably the one with a hand-cranked option) and some ready to eat food with longer shelf life. You can either store this bag near the main door of your house or maybe, in your car’s trunk.
Always keep a flashlight on your bedside table because a violent earthquake can cause a power outage and you would need some light to find your way out to safety.
What to do when a tremor happens?
Remember! Staying calm in an emergency can significantly increase your chances of survival and an earthquake is no exception. Even minor shaking could cause an average person to panic. A terrified student has jumped from a hostel building to his death during the recent earthquake happened in Mirpur.
Some people believe that being outdoors can keep them safe during an earthquake. So they would quickly dash to the exit whenever earth begins to tremble. Sometimes outdoor environments could be more dangerous than staying under a roof. This is because low to moderate intensity earthquakes only last for a few moments and they do not cause average buildings to collapse. The real danger, however, is the risk of getting struck by falling objects including broken glasses, tipping furniture and falling debris etc. In fact, a strong earthquake can cause the weak, multistory buildings to collapse but in this case, the shaking would be so violent, your odds of moving out of the building to safety before it collapses would be very slim. Here is what you should consider during an earthquake if you are indoors.
Avoid making any movement unless you are very close to a potential threat e.g. glass door or windows, closets, bookcases and store shelves, etc.
If you must change your location, try reaching the nearest safe place moving as little as possible. You may move out of a single-story building if you are very close to the exit but leaving a multistory building before shaking stops is risky. Collapsing parapet walls or windowpanes can cause serious injuries.
Take cover whenever possible trying to protect your head and torso.
Staying indoors until the shaking stops is a better option most of the times.
However, once the tremor is over, it is better to leave the building using the nearest available exit. Watch out for leaking gas, broken electric wires and shattered glasses during evacuation.
Avoid taking an elevator even if it is working. Power outage or a malfunction resulting from aftershocks could trap you in an elevator.
While being outdoors during an earthquake sounds better, the danger could still be there.
If you are walking down the road or standing outside, move far away from buildings, billboards, power lines and utility poles, trees, and streetlights.
Drop to the ground right after you reach a safe spot and wait for the shaking to stop.
If you are driving or riding a bike, pull over to a clear location and stop. Avoid staying on the bridges, underpasses and overpasses, and right below the power lines if possible.
You may resume your journey after the earthquake is over.
If you are in hilly areas, like AJ&K, GB and Murree, be prepared for falling rocks as an earthquake can trigger dangerous landslides, which can also be further released from heavy rain as was the case in the 2005 earthquake.
Lifesaving actions after an earthquake
You may return to normal activities after a minor earthquake is over. Intense tremors, however, require you to follow further precautionary measures because of secondary hazards. Falling structures as a result of aftershocks, landslides, broken power lines and gas pipes, injured victims, risk of tsunami and dam failure are some of the main hazards to manage following a violent earthquake.
Use your phone for making urgent and emergency calls only. Overloaded communication system could hinder emergency responders to save lives. Rely on SMS, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger to connect with your friends and family members.
If you must call the emergency helpline 1122, always begin by telling them your exact location followed by the nature of the emergency. Keep your call as short as possible because they have a limited number of lines and several other victims may also need emergency help.
Avoid unnecessary driving after a major earthquake. There could be downed power lines, broken roads and fallen trees. Furthermore, traffic jam could prevent emergency responders to reach the victims on time to save their lives.
If you are already on the road, you may carefully drive but steer clear of bridges that may have been damaged.
Listen to the news on the radio for further instructions to follow. People living near the coastlines may need to immediately evacuate the town if a tsunami warning is issued.
Rescuing earthquake victims is fine but be careful and always follow the orders of rescue officers. They may ask you to stay away from the affected area for your safety.
If an intense earthquake has caused severe damage to a building, do not go back inside to retrieve your belongings. Have it inspected by a professional to make sure it is safe to be home.
Writer: Writer: Sultan Kiani