Judoka Shahi – Starring From Gujarat’s ‘Mini Africa’
CHENNAI, (IANS) – One would mistakenly count Shahin Darjada, seated with cornrows decorated with beads on her head, as some sports fan enjoying an outing at the indoor hall of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium where the judo competitions of the ongoing Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG) are being held.
Hailing from Jambur village, popularly known as the ‘Mini Africa’ of Gujarat, Shahin walked away with a gold medal in 57kg category with a convincing win over Himachal Pradesh’s Rupanshi in the final.
There are a couple of more players hailing from the region, situated around 20km from Gir, and has served as a home to the Siddi community, which is of African origin.
The 18-year-old said her performance started to improve once she shifted to Ahmedabad where she started training under Georgian coach, Lasa Kizilashvili in 2022.
A Class 12 student of Somnath Academy in her native village, Shahin is one of the six siblings and counts herself as a fortunate one to have supportive parents. Shahin’s father works in the government circuit house while her mother is a housewife.
While she has another couple of years in the junior circuit, Shahin has her eyes on the big stage and hopes to fulfill her parent’s wishes by representing India at the highest levels.