Pakistan’s first wheelchair-bound table tennis champion Zainab Barkat has become an inspiration for many.
At the age of one, she was crippled by polio. However, she decided she won’t let her disability define her – she became a Pakistani table tennis champion, but of course, on wheels. According to a local website, she also has the honour to be the first woman tennis player in the wheelchair category.
Zainab has also participated in matches internationally – she represents Pakistan’s differently-abled tennis players. Over the years, she has participated in many national level championships. As a result, she has earned 20 medals and 16 winner trophies – something she is immensely proud of.
Being a paraplegic, Barkat didn’t let her condition come in the way of her career even though she was well aware of the limitations that came with being in a wheelchair. She defied all odds in a country such as Pakistan, where women already struggle to carve their path in the field of sports.
She told a local publishing site that she “saw differently-abled men do so much for themselves, playing different sports, she said, adding, I thought to myself if boys can do it, then the girls can do it, too.”
With that thought in mind, Barkat explored different sports areas and finally found the one that she was passionate about, “Table tennis”. She is a representation of strength and bravery. She inspires other women every day with her determination.
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Now and then, you come across a story that makes you pause and wonder. It leaves you in awe of inspiration. A story that makes your own struggles and challenges look really small and gives you the courage and motivation to go on in life. It makes you realise that no matter what life throws at you, you have to take it, learn to adapt, turn it into your strength and move forward with a smile.
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