Ashwini Ashok Naidu of Sir JJ Fort Girls High School (Fort) lost out on the gold medal but won hearts with her silver finish at the Mumbai Schools Sports Association (MSSA) inter-school girls U-14 judo championship at the District Sports Office (DSO) Sports Complex in Dharavi on Saturday.
Ashwini went down to Qaunain Ramakdawala of Alexandra Girl’s English Institution (Fort) in the final of the U-36 kg category, but impressed with a spirited performance nevertheless. Humera Soopariwala won the bronze medal.
Ashwini’s achievement is commendable given her humble family background. She resides with her mother Alrash and sister Arti in a rented room at Patra Chawl, Dhobhighat.
Having lost her father, Ashok to an illness when she was barely two months, her mother has had to work very hard to her daughters.
Ashwini inevitably credited her mother for her success. “I have never seen my father, but my mother means the world to me. She started stitching clothes to ensure that we sisters could go to school.
Judo has given a lot of strength, both mentally as well as physically. I want to achieve something in life and make my mother proud,” said the 12-year-old.
Narrating the hardships she faced, Ashwini’s mother Alrash said: “I was barely 14 when I got married and came to Mumbai from Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu.
My husband passed away immediately after ashwini was born. Thereafter, my in-laws began harassing me and life became very tough as I could do little with a newborn in my arms. But then I got a stitching job with a Mahila Mandal nearby.
Today, my daughter has given me immense joy by winning a medal for her school.” Ashwini’s judo instructor, Hetal Dave, is proud of her ward. “Ashwini is very dedicated and I’m proud to see her win this medal. I’m confident she will train harder and aim for gold next year.”