A champion in a tight spot

Shaik Jafreen, former hearing-impaired tennis champion, is looking for sponsorship.– File photo: V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM  

Shaik Jafreen, former national hearing-impaired tennis champion, is staring at the grim possibility of missing her second consecutive major championship – the 8{+t}{+h}Asia Pacific Championship in Taiwan from October 3 to 11 – for want of sponsorship.

This girl, who shifted from Kurnool to the city with the hope of making it big in the world of tennis and now training at Sania Mirza Tennis Academy, is not sure whether she will make it to Taiwan. Especially, given the fact that only two months ago, 18-year-old Jafreen, who was the captain of the Indian team that took part in the world championship for the hearing-impaired, had to pull out for want of financial support. And, it turned out to be a double blow – her inability to compete in that event costed her $100 as penalty from the organising committee and also saw her world ranking slip from No. 17 to No. 22 now!

“We are not sure how and where her career will be heading for now. We are extremely grateful to Sania Mirza for giving Rs. 5 lakh last year as a special gesture to let Jafreen take part in major events and improve her ranking,” says Jafreen’s father, Zakeer Ahmed, an advocate by profession.

Jafreen had to miss the 2012 London Paralympics for which she qualified then owing to lack of financial support. But, ever since she joined Sania Mirza Tennis Academy two years ago, at least her training programme has been taken care off with the support of the Mirzas.

Ironically, only recently the Union Sports Ministry rejected the proposal of the tennis federation to field this category teams in different international events saying that the players can compete at their own cost.

“We are hoping of some kind of support for Jafreen (silver medallist in singles and doubles in the Youth World Championship in 2014) at this critical juncture of her career,” observes her optimistic father.

Shaik Jafreen, former hearing-impaired tennis champion, is looking for sponsorship

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 9:15:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/a-champion-in-a-tight-spot/article7693865.ece

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