With over four months of shutdown, curfew and civilian killings, the tormented Kashmiris have something to cheer about as two players from the Valley have clinched top titles at two separate international championships recently.
On Tuesday, a seven-year-old boy from north Kashmir's Bandipora district, who represented India in the Asian Youth Karate Championship, has clinched the gold medal after beating his Sri Lankan rival.
Hashim Mansoor, a resident of Nadihal village in Bandipora district, represented India in Sub-Junior category in the championship, which saw the participation of 19 countries, at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi.
Hashim had defeated his Bhutanese and Malaysian opponents before reaching the finals.
Mansoor Ahmad Shah, Hashim's father, said that he has been encouraging his child to pursue Karate since he was five. "It is a wonderful feeling. I hope he gets the necessary support in future to continue his journey and I am sure he would excel."
Ghulam Nabi Tantray, president of J&K Youth Karate Federation, said: "Mansoor had been performing extremely well in recent matches and his win was only possible because of the hard work put by his coach Fasil Ali Dar.
"He is a gifted child and I hope we would produce more champions from all the three regions of the state," Tantray said.
Earlier, an eight-year-old girl from the same district, Tajamul Islam, daughter of a driver, battled all odds and went on to clinch a gold medal at the World Kickboxing Championship in the sub-junior category.
Tajamul, who made the history by winning the gold in the sub-junior category at the World Kickboxing Championship in Italy, is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 10 December in New Delhi.
The political turmoil of last 27 years has dealt a blow to the plans of the state's hugely talented players who often fail to make a mark at national and international level due to the lack of infrastructure back home. The peace prevailing in the last decade brought out some known faces from the state, like Pervaiz Rasool, who went on to play for team India in international cricket matches.