As she ran in the 100 m race in the South Asian Federation (SAF) games hosted in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 23 year old, Naseem Hamid had no idea that she would earn the title of the fastest woman in South Asia. After 11.81 seconds, Hamid became the first woman to receive gold at the competition.
A true story of rags to riches, Hamid lived in a one-room house in the slums of Korangi in Karachi. Once in the spotlight, her â€œfairytale successâ€ came to light, which she says will â€œtake some time to digestâ€. With every luxury she did not have before pouring in, she reminisced about her families struggles to make ends meet on a daily basis, and taking on the responsibility of her family, on her shoulders, when she began training as an athlete in the Pakistani armyâ€™s sports section. Just three years ago, Hamid used to run barefoot, since she could not afford proper running shoes and continue to â€œtrain very hard”. She was so determined to excel that she recalled at times she would “came back home with [her] legs aching and fell asleep before [her] parents woke [her] up for dinner.”
Her mother, Nasreen Hamid, considered her daughter to be â€œlike a son to [her] and overcame lots of trouble but never lost heart, even when she couldn’t win races”. Nasreen recalled that even though “Our relatives were against her going into sport but it was her will power that helped her stick to the game and attain such success. â€œ Although, after her daughterâ€™s success her extended family had a lot of pride and crowded her house.
After being injured in 2006 for the 10th South Asian Games in Colombo, Hamid had to watch her colleagues from the sidelines, but this was just more motivation for her. â€œI know you can beat all odds through your determination, and I have done that in Dhakaâ€¦failures have always given me heart to performâ€ said Hamid as she finally comes back to reality of having her dream come true of holding the title of South Asiaâ€™s fastest woman. â€”MUNIA ISLAM
Photo credit: AFP