ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s young medal hope Ayesha Ayaz, will try her luck in the World Taekwondo G-1 Championship in Fujairah, UAE today (Wednesday).

While talking exclusively to The Nation from Fujairah highly confident Ayesha Ayaz, 8, from Swat said: “I am really excited as it is my first-ever international tournament. But I am not nervous or under pressure. In fact, I am enjoying and really thankful to Pakistan Taekwnado Federation President Lt Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Januja, who provided me with this opportunity and posed confidence in my abilities.”

Ayesha’s father Muhammad Ayaz, who is secretary of Swat District Taekwondo Association, was himself an international player and she said he wanted me to excel in this Olympic martial art sports and it was only his support that she was able to participate in this sport and also won gold medal in the very first National Taekwando Championship last year.

Ayesha said win at national championships give her a lot of boos and she started training even harder under the watchful eyes of her father and mother, as both her parents are former taekwando players. “They took keen interest and I want to win international medals for my parents and country. I have a dream to fulfil that my parents could not realise. I will love to become the first female player to get direct birth in 2024 Olympics and that is not my first mission or major aim. Playing in Olympics is a huge achievement but winning something is completely different. I want to win the Olympics medal for my father.”

She said federation and her father sponsored her. “I am training very hard here and looking forward for competitive action. I am the youngest ever athlete in the history of Pakistan to represent the country at international stage. I will be participating in the 27kg weight category and confident to prevail against all the odds. I want to deliver and winning gold is my main aim here.”

While sharing his views Lt Col (R) Wasim said: “Ayesha and Danish are the finds of the federation; hopefully, they will win medals as witnessed in November during national event, Ayesha won gold in her category, while Danish also won gold in U-17 category.”

He said they unearthed talent of Ayesha and Danish during the club championships, which were organised by PTWF from 2015 to 2018. “Danish is currently participating in international competition in -17 category. He belongs to Fata and I want to say special thanks to Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza, as she passed on directives to Pakistan Sports Board for special care and look after for Danish at PSB premises where Dnaish is getting training, accommodation, meal and every possible help. Danish is now picked by Pakistan Air Force Directorate f Sports and in future be given full scholarship. “

He said both are real talents and they had worked at real grassroots level for the promotion and development of youth in Pakistan. “Ayesha’s parents both remained taekwondo athletes, but none of them could reach to this level. But like every parent, they want their daughter to reach new heights and become a source of pride for country. Their dream is that she should play at Olympics level and it is right age to work on her and I request IPC Minister to provide facilities and care to the future of Pakistan,” Waism concluded.