The COVID-19 pandemic has halted life all over the world. Due to the lockdown in Karachi, Imkaan had to close its operations in Machar Colony. Keeping in mind the gravity of the situation and the need for social distancing all activities of Khel, a learning and recreational center have been halted.
In mid-May 2020, Imkaan reopened Khel just for gymnastics training. Students are divided into two groups and are allowed to continue training at the center with one coach present at a time. The girl's gymnastics team has been in the process of learning to work on the balance beam. Before the pandemic, the smaller balance beam was purchased which was put to use for training.
Imkaan is now awaiting to open the recreational center and continue to train new children for the gymnastics team.
The girls' gymnastics team has been winning accolades in all local level and interschool level championships for the last two years. This year, they won the best gymnast trophy at Urtay Sitaray - an all women gymnastics championship and the team first position.
A week after the event, training sessions began again. Lead by coach Furqan, Kiran one of the top gymnasts was able to do a board jump/flip without the use of her hands. This sort of skill is only possible from highly qualified gymnasts who have been performing for years.
With the addition of new members in the boys' team, the training sessions are now more focused on floor exercises and stretches. The boys' team has yet to reach the same level as the girls' team but with focused training will be able to learn quickly and be part of interschool games in late 2020.
Imkaan Welfare Organization hosted Urtaay Sitaray – an All-Women Gymnastics Championship – where institutions from all over Karachi participated; Beacon Askari Secondary and O’Level School, Foundation Public School, Khel by Imkaan, Kiran Foundation, Wisdom House, and Little Gymnasts. The championship aimed to provide female gymnasts from all over the city, irrespective of demographics, with the opportunity to compete on a professional level. The championship was held on the 16th of November at DA Zamzama Club with judges from the Sindh Association of Pakistan.
Sarwat Gilani, a Pakistani actress who supports philanthropic endeavors, served as the chief guest for the event. She presented the winning teams with the trophies and medals, and the event commenced with a dynamic cheerleading performance by the gymnasts of Khel and Mr. Mazhar, an international cheerleader, and his troupe.
Women's participation in sports and athletic activities is a rising phenomenon with many young girls showing interest in pursuing gymnastics that is yet to be discovered. To encourage and promote female participation in gymnastics, the championship served to support and welcome rising female gymnasts to compete and hone their skills to a proficient standard and was a step forward in creating accessible and inclusive opportunities for young girls.
The Gymnastics Team continues training with their coach Mr. Furqan Raja at Khel. They are focusing on a synchronized gymnastics display. The Girls team has reached the second tier of training on the bars and will continue to do so till they have mastered all moves.
Below are links to two videos highlighting their improvement.
The management team is now looking for more opportunities at local and national level games for the team to participate in. Earlier, the gymnastics team has won accolades for their performance at various interschool level games. Due to a lack of identity and identity documents people from this community have fewer options for growth in various industries and sports.
We are happy to announce that the Gymnastics team of Khel, project of Imkaan Welfare Organization won 1st Position Gymnastics Girls and Best Gymnast Girl, Anwara, at the Kiran Foundation DCTO 2nd Inter-School Futsal & Gymnastics Championship.
With constant training with qualified coach Muhammad Furqan and Adeel Abbasi, the girls gymnastics team have been able to give an exceptional performance and win the title against 4 other teams. The Boys team also one third position in floor exercises.
The coaching continues at Khel, Imkaan is now looking for collaborations with the government of Sindh in order to participate in National Level Games and find employment for girls gymnasts as assistant coaches.
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