India’s Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), which is known for producing stalwart hockey players like Zafar Iqbal, Masood Minaj, Ahsan Mohammad Khan, Madan Lal, Lt A Shakoor, all of whom have represented the country in the Olympics, have created history by setting up their own girl’s hockey team for the first time in its history since 1920.
The AMU which was established in the 1860s by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was initiated with the prime purpose of providing education and holistic development for Muslim women. Today, the university ranks among the best in India.
The AMU offers over 300 degrees and is organised around 12 faculties offering courses in a range of technical and vocational subjects, as well as interdisciplinary subjects. The university has around 28,000 students and a faculty of almost 1,500 teaching staff.
For a long time, the university’s sports programs have been dominated with the men playing cricket, field hockey, and volleyball. Also, because in some conservative Muslim households, girls are not allowed to step out of the house to study, let alone to play a sport, so this move is a welcome surprise.
A team has already been formed and training sessions have already kicked off.
The team consists of students between the ages of 13 and 15 and they train on the university’s field.
Their coach, Anis Ur Rahman, represented India in hockey in the late 1980s and is the current deputy director of the AMU Sports Committee.
“The biggest challenge as of now, is to a build strong women’s hockey team who can go on to represent the university,” said Anis Ur Rahman
The members of the women’s team are all under 15. They are school-going students who study at AMU ABK High School (Girls). Their practice sessions begin at 3:30 p.m. and last until 7:00 p.m.
There is also no restriction regarding what to wear while playing any sport.Not just juniors but even seniors have taken up the game.
The players are optimistic everyone putting in their efforts to make the team gather all its strength.