Not Bend it Like Beckham, But Ace it Like Afshan: PM Modi Praises J&K Footballer Afshan Ashiq

Not Bend it Like Beckham, But Ace it Like Afshan: PM Modi Praises J&K Footballer Afshan Ashiq

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an interaction with Afshan Ashiq, who hit the headlines in 2017 as a stone pelter in Srinagar.

To encourage her Modi said, “You have done very well in football. Mostly, football fans say ”Bend it like Beckham”, but now they will say ”Ace it like Afshan”.”

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Back in December 2017, Afshan’s photo had gone viral on social media and everything changed for her.

Post the incident, Afshan had to tackle the media, the Jammu and Kashmir sports secretary and her family – and all of them had their own set of challenges.

The 25-year-old then went onto to play for FC Kolhapur City in the Indian Women’s League (IWL) last season and is currently pursuing her playing career in Mumbai after giving her early years to coaching in her state.

Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju expressed his joy that the people of the country have taken fitness seriously, and revealed that the government has issued different fitness protocols for people across different age groups to follow.

“The Fit India movement has taken the fitness of the country forward. We have launched the fitness protocols for three different age groups and we hope that this will help everyone keep fit,” Shri Rijiju declared.


Also present at the interaction was Indian men’s cricket team captain Virat Kohli explained how the Yo-Yo test helped Indian cricketers aim for high-level fitness when PM Modi asked him about the mandatory running aerobic fitness routine.

Prime Minister Modi was interacting with fitness experts and influencers from across the country to mark the one-year anniversary of the ”Fit India Movement.”

Modi was keen to know what is Yo-Yo test and asked if the captain also has to pass it or he gets spared?

“I heard these days there is a Yo-Yo test for the team, what is this test,” asked Modi during the virtual interaction.

Kohli, smiling, replied, “This Test was very important from fitness point of view. If we talk about global fitness level, our fitness level is still low compared to other teams and we want to take it up, which is a basic requirement.”


Kohli said better fitness has helped the players, especially fast bowlers, to perform during crucial moments.

“In Test cricket, sometimes we get tired. Our fast bowlers are best in the world currently and if they have to put that effort on the fourth and fifth day on the field, they can do it now,” he said.

“We always had the skills but when in the crucial moment when the body gets tired and the team needs you, our performance used to dip and our opponents used to win, now because of our fitness, we have been able to capitalise and perform on those crucial moments,” he added.

Kohli said he didn”t follow the right diet early in his career and stressed on the need to bring an overall change in lifestyle.

“When I started playing, I started having lot of things which were not good from health point of view. So physical fitness and diet had to change. Now life is very hectic, so if we don”t keep fitness in sync with our times, we will keep falling behind. If we wouldn”t have focussed on our fitness then we would have fallen behind in our sports as well. We can”t only depend on our skills as mental strength depends on how fit is the body and mind.”

Modi said he was glad that healthy eating is becoming a part of people”s way of living.

“Becoming fit is not as difficult as most think. It just requires a little discipline. ”Fitness ki dose, aadha ghanta roz”. Every Indian should play some game or do some fitness activity, be it tennis, badminton, kabaddi. It has to be for at least half an hour,” the PM said.

(With inputs from Agencies)