In Tuba’s family, the passion for carrom runs deep and strong, having taken the shape of legacy over the years. While her father Mazhar Khan is a former national level player, all her elder siblings – sister Farheen and brothers Hassan, Saquib and Arish– have been national champions or medallists at one time or the other in their career.
Tuba, too, is a champion in her own right: Earlier this year, she won silver at the 42nd Nationals Junior (under-18 yrs) Championship in Moradabad, while at the last year’s edition held in Varanasi, she won gold.
Prior to that, she had clinched the sub-junior (under-14) crown in 2010 and 2012.
However, what separates the 14-year-old from the rest is that she has not only represented but also won the top honour for India: Tuba was one of the three-member girl squad that defeated Sri Lanka in a bilateral Test series organised for junior players last year in Gurgaon.
“It has been the biggest moment of my life so far. While winning the medal for the country is the ultimate achievement for any sportsperson, the feat was extra-special as it was my first international outing,” shares Tuba, who studies in Class 9 at St Stephen’s School, Togan, and happens to be the only female player from Chandigarh who has represented India.
It is easy to guess that father Mazhar initiated Tuba, as well as his other children, into the world of carrom. But it was the ‘sisterly rivalry’ that motivated Tuba to take up the game seriously.
“Farheen, who is a former national sub-junior and junior champion, used to get pampered a lot by my father because of her achievements. He even used to take out extra hours from his time to help Farheen practice when the tournaments would be around. I wanted to enjoy the same attention, and that is why I started practising hard.”
In 2006, Tuba participated in her first state sub-junior ranking tournament and won a bronze in the individual section. In the same year, she also won a silver medal in the team event of the national championship held in Kerala. Since then, the youngster has never looked back, amassing more than 65 medals in the subjunior and junior categories of state, zonal and national tournaments.
She has also been participating in the national senior ranking tournaments since 2007, and reached the semifinals last year in her best ever performance at the event. “Whatever I have achieved today is all because of the blessings of my parents. At the same time, I cannot go without mentioning the kind gesture of our school’s director principal Harold Carver sir. On his directions, not only my fee has been waived off, but the exams are also rescheduled in case they clash with the tournaments,” adds Tuba. Carver is also the president of Chandigarh Carrom Association.
On what is next on her radar, Tuba replies, “Besides the state ranking tournament that gets underway here from Sunday, I looking forward to winning gold in junior and senior national championships to be held in the later half of this year.”
And what is her ultimate aimRs “To represent the country at the Carrom World Cup,” adds Tuba.