Srinagar: Sharmeen Mushtaq Nizami, a doctor by profession, is all set to become Jammu and Kashmir’s first female snow racer.
She would be participating in ‘Frozen Rush 2’, the only snow autocross in the country. “I want to come up as an inspiration to many other aspiring women of Kashmir who desire to make a difference and break the barriers”, she said.
The two-day event is scheduled to take place at Kashmir’s premier ski resort at Gulmarg from January 20.
Gulmarg, situated at a height of 2,650 m (8,690 ft) above the sea level and about 54 km from summer capital Srinagar, has been chosen for several ski and other winter sports events to be held in January-March. These include the annual 3-day Gulmarg Winter Festival, tourism officials in Srinagar said.
Dr Sharmeen is the very first female participant of Frozen Rush 2. “While it is still a male-dominated sport, this season, for the first time ever, the Kashmir motorsport scene will witness its very first Kashmiri female snow race driver as a participant in the second edition of Frozen Rush,” said Farah Zaidi, the PR-Director of ‘Kashmir Off Road (KOR)’ which is organizing the event.
Sharmeen, 40, is a full-time practising doctor and a mother of two. A resident of Srinagar, she works in the government-run Ghusia Hospital in the City’s Khanyar area. She said, “Wow, I am finally going to race. It’s going to be a long cherished dream coming true; the feeling still needs to sink in”
She said that she has been driving for over two decades and just getting behind the wheel thrills her. “However, it is for the first time that I would be racing too. This is what I have been wanting to do”, she said.
She also said that she has been following the activities of KOR for quite some time because many of her relatives are already associated with it.
“So now, here I’m, excited and have already registered myself for the upcoming Frozen Rush 2 in Gulmarg”.
Asked if her profession is in conflict with her passion for motor sporting and what she is planning to do, Sharmeen said, “No, that’s not there. If you have it (passion) in you and you are provided with a well-structured platform to show your skills then you must give it a try, at least”. She said that she wants to come up as an inspiration to many other aspiring women of Kashmir who want to make a difference and break the barriers, continue to push boundaries to live their dream. “Perhaps in the future we will have a team of Kashmiri female racers too”, he added.
Ali Sajid, the founder and owner of KOR while speaking on Sharmeen’s joining the race said, “This is exactly what I have been talking about and working towards since the inception of KOR. I always had a strong feeling that we have ardent motor sporting enthusiasts in the region and see now we have people like Dr Sharmeen on board now”.
He said that motorsports in Kashmir is still going through its developing phase but is already seeing steady growth with a large number of new drivers participating in our activities, which is promising. “I wholeheartedly welcome her and extend my best wishes to her and advise her not to get distracted, stay focused in the pursuit of victory. She looks prepared.”
KOR is the first and only off-road, adventure and motorsport outfit based in Srinagar. “Our aim is to build a local motor-sporting and off-road community in the region, by organizing and promoting off-road and motor-sporting events in Kashmir and creating opportunity for local talent for participation in national motor-sporting events,” Zaidi said.