Published: 07th August 2018
Karnataka's Sabiya S is probably India's best throwball prodigy. But you've probably never heard of her
Despite a tough financial situation, St Joseph's Degree College student Sabiya S is determined to make a living of throwball and soccer — both of which she is great at. Will somebody take notice?
While most of us end up cheering for cricket and football stars, we have almost forgotten about sports like throwball, softball, handball, netball, disk ball and ball badminton and the athletes who are great at them. One such player is a 19-year-old Sabiya S from St Joseph's Degree College, who has been a seven-time international throwball champion.
She started playing throwball when she was as young as 12, "I used to participate in athletics conducted at the school level. Initially, my father did not support me. He said we cannot afford the expense of a new sports kit and travel expenses and advised me to drop this idea and continue studying well," she said. Although her father tried discouraging her, she did not stop and stayed determined to continue in throw-ball with a dream of representing the country. "My father was a state-level cricket player and he told me that you need lots of money to travel to different places. He also said that you will not get funds easily nor will it come at the right time. Later, considering my dreams and struggles, he stood by me," she added.
Throwball prodigy: Sabiya S playing throwball in one of the tournaments in Bengaluru
Representing the country seven times in the international arena is not an easy task. When we asked Sabiya how she managed it, she said, "Apart from coaching sessions twice a day, my advantage is that I am a left-hand throwball player. That's why it is easy for me to spin and throw the ball in a way that makes it difficult for the opposition to catch." Recently, she had participated in the International throwball championship held at Dhaka and won a gold medal. In 2013, the Sri Lanka Throwball Federation also named Sabiya as the best throwball player for her best performance in the Indo-Thailand tournament.
As much as these achievements are a matter of pride to Sabiya and her family, neither the state nor the central government are overly keen to promote these sports. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she tells us about the kind of hardship her family has undergone to help her pursue her dream, "My father sold a plot of land and my mother had to pawn her gold jewellery just to support my travel, food and accommodation expenses when I travelled to countries like Sri Lanka and Malaysia," she explained.
Sports like throwball, softball, handball, netball, disk ball and ball badminton are placed in the 'others' category in sports. The government does not fund the players no matter how efficient they are. All these sports are less played and lesser talked about and various federations will obviously not be too interested in funding them
Joseph Hoover, Sports Expert, and Former Sports Journalist
Apart from throwball, she has also been representing Karnataka as a football player — for which she has won the 'Karnataka Kreeda Ratna' award. While she spends two hours every morning training in football, two hours in the evening are spent on throwball. "My father takes tuition classes to run our family. Amidst all these financial constraints, I do not have sufficient money to travel abroad to represent the country. I hope the government will recognise players like me and fund our endeavours."