Hyderabad: At 16, Shaik Jafreen is set to represent India at the 2nd Open Youth Deaf Tennis Cup to be held in Germany from May 28 to June 1.Decoding her sign language for us, Jafreen’s father shares her excitement and how his daughter is living his dream.
A confident Jafreen says, “I am working hard to give my best. I practice the game almost four hours every day. My father, Zakeer Ahmed and the team at the Sania Mirza Tennis Academy have also put in a lot of hard work. I won’t let them down.”
Jafreen’s father, advocate Zakeer Ahmed, was a cricketer and has played an important role in his daughter’s tennis career. “Today whatever I know about tennis is because of my dad, who is my guide and friend,” says the hearing impaired champ.
Zakeer is the only earning member of the family and since Jafreen needs personal attention, he often risks his job and gives time to his daughter. “I feel it’s absolutely okay to risk my job as once it was my dream to be world’s No. 1 cricketer, I couldn’t; but with Jafreen, I am living my dream.”
Jafreen is trained free by the Sania Mirza Academy and has also played a few games with Sania. She says, “Sania is my guru and I admire her energy and passion for the game. After playing the game, Sania told my father that this time I would definitely win a medal in the tournament.”
Asked how she got in touch with Sania, her dad says, “She participated in the Deaf Indian Olympics in 2013. Sania came to know about this and called me. She was ready to give Jafreen free training in her academy.”
She has earlier represented Andhra Pradesh School Games Tennis Team and participated in the All India Inter-state School Games Championship thrice and won a Bronze medal. She has also won Gold medals in Women Singles and Women Doubles in National Deaf Tennis Championship 2012.
Talking about her goal, Jafreen says, “Tennis is my passion since childhood and I have a dream to win a Gold medal in the upcoming Deaflympics 2017 to be held in Turkey and make India proud of my achievements.”...