Samar Khan is the primary girl to achieve the K2 basecamp on a bicycle. As an athlete, she has lots of firsts below her belt — she’s the primary Pakistani to climb the 6,250-metre Burbucho peak in Shigar’s Arandu and the primary Pakistani to summit Mount Kilimanjaro.
Khan documented her journey to the basecamp on social media however her reasoning for doing so was greater than sharing the information along with her followers.
When Khan was studying about mountain biking (MTB), there was nobody to show her. One of many largest hurdles I confronted was having no MTB professional or coach in Pakistan, so I realized from the web or worldwide athletes I had befriended, she informed Photographs.
“Freedom of travelling on two wheels was the biggest push for me,” she stated. “On a bicycle, you can explore the mountains. I’m from a mountainous area myself so I really love the mountains,” Khan defined. Biking has groomed her, reworked her life and helped her change into a greater model of herself.
She will not change into a coach simply but, as a result of in keeping with her, she’s not on the stage the place she will train anybody but. “If you want coaching and sports in Pakistan, you need to invest in the individuals already in the sport and get them to that level. If they’re at this level without any support imagine what they would be able to do with government support,” she stated, echoing calls made by many individuals for the federal government to assist its athletes.
“If we are brought to this level and are able to represent our country abroad, we can come back and give something to our community,” she stated. Proper now we’re dealing with hurdles and hardships, Khan defined. “We face criticism and harassment without any support.”
How can we consider grooming the long run technology and the expansion of sports activities within the nation but, she requested. “You need to invest in one generation at least.”
Selling sports activities is an enormous cause why she’s so lively on social media. “I am trying my best to post on social media platforms and post videos, what I have learnt, what my experiences have been and where I have been able to travel to,” she defined.
Khan stated that journey sports activities is immediately associated to tourism. She had one request for individuals eager to collaborate on work within the northern areas of Pakistan — please decide up individuals who have actual on-ground experiences.
Harassment is frequent
Being a girl biker is not simple, particularly in Pakistan. “There are lot of areas that are safe for biking for women in Pakistan and a lot of areas that are not safe. It’s a mixed type of mindset that we have,” she stated. “Social media and education have led to some people broadening their minds but there are still barriers,” the athlete defined.
“Not a single day goes by when I don’t face harassment on the road, so street harassment is really common. I once physically fought three to four guys just to continue my daily practice,” she stated.
Our determination makers additionally attempt to manipulate or harass you in workplaces, so it’s in all places, she stated. “It will take a lot of time for female to come to sports confidently. And getting safe spaces is a long way off,” she stated.
“But maybe there are people like me, individuals trying to fight the system and making it easier for others, I guess.”
Khan’s journey to the K2 basecamp was a person one. It is a technical peak, and a legendary one, she stated, including that there have been many incidents there, most notably mountaineer Ali Sadpara’s demise.
MTB and snowboarding are new sports activities to Pakistan and are thought-about sports activities of the primary world, defined the athlete, who can be a snowboarder.
There isn’t any assist, no infrastructure and there are not any sports activities manufacturers right here, she stated. However no matter all of the hurdles, she is going to proceed her journey with or with out assist.
I’ll contuse my journey w wo assist
Khan is from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Dir and began journey sports activities 2015 when she biked to the Khubjerab Cross.
“I wanted to explore Hunza on two wheels,” she informed Photographs. I questioned why had been weren’t doing something for journey sports activities in Pakistan, she stated, noting that often, you solely see European athletes participating in these sports activities and challenges.
Society considers these sports activities just for the elite class or for males or foreigners, she stated. “It’s no place for a woman [in their minds],” Khan added.
“All of these thoughts and mindsets are quite challenging for me. Sports transformed my personal life, made me more groomed and confident and I wanted to be the better version of myself with the help of sport.”
To start with, she was very smitten by sports activities and took part within the trials for the Pakistan staff however she quickly realised there was no MTB staff.
“Officials were more interested in my age and martial status than my talent. They made strange comments and made fun of me,” she stated.
One other problem she confronted was that as a result of there are not any native sports activities manufacturers, there have been no low cost bikes out there. It’s a must to import bikes, which isn’t any simple proposition.
It took two to 3 years for me to have a motorbike sponsored and until then I rented a secondhand bike, she stated. The primary bike she acquired value between Rs20,000 to Rs25,000 and by her personal admission was nothing fancy. “I bought a lot of things at the Sunday market,” she defined.
Her largest hurdle, nonetheless, was studying. She stated other than the web, her largest supply of studying was a two-month ESPN international sports activities mentoring programme she went to within the US. “They coached me and that was the only learning source,” she stated.
She has now launched her personal sports activities membership the place she trains individuals on snowboard and use mountain bikes.
There is not a lot authorities assist for typical sports activities so assist for MTB is a distant dream, stated Khan. She defined that the general public would not typically perceive the game both and on social media, whereas she does get some encouraging responses, many individuals name her an consideration seeker and insult her sport.
That is how MTB is promoted globally, she stated, referring to posting footage and movies of herself on her bike in fascinating places. One of many high UN Sustainable Improvement Targets is biking and mountain biking on powerful landmarks to advertise them is essential, she stated.
“When I do it in Pakistan, I get criticised because the majority of the population doesn’t understand the requirements of my sport. There is no concept of elite athlete management, branding, sponsorship or health here,” she stated.
“But when I talk about this as a woman, I receive direct attacks on my gender, which is very disappointing.”
Arranging every thing your self and doing every thing your self is sort of difficult, extra so in Pakistan than different nations, she stated, including that being a girl makes it much more troublesome.
“If a foreigner or a man does it [excel at MTB], they get praised but in Pakistan if a woman does it, first they target her abilities and say she can’t even walk, how can she do this and then they bring religion into it. There are lots of factors to fight at the moment as a sportswoman.”