The new women heroes of the day are definitely Tashi and Nungashi Malik, the first twin sisters to climb Mount Everest together, have now become the fastest South Asians to complete the ‘Explorers Grand Slam’. But they have done it on their own, with no ‘support’ from the Narendra Modi government.
The Government of new Zealand has appreciated their efforts and will be extending a sports scholarship to the young achievers. The sisters are currently pursuing the course on Sports and Exercise Psychology in the land of the Kiwis. The Indian government’s stand appears to be that ‘mountaineering’ is not officially a sport in this country.
The 24-year-old twins achieved this feat by climbing the highest peaks in all seven continents and reaching the North and South Poles on skis.
The only one other South Asian, also an Indian, who has completed the feat previously, an Indian ex-Naval officer Satyabrat Dam,now a professional adventurer.
On July 3, when the twins scaled the 5,895 metres high Mt Kilimanjaro in Kenya, they had achieved the Grand Slam. Mt Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain on Earth and the highest peak in Africa.
Though the twins are basking in the glory of their achievements, they said they have not recieved any financial support from the Centre, according to news reports.
“Mountaineering is a great sport but it has put my parents in debt. Though we scaled many heights for our country, not even a single penny has been provided by the government,” the twins said.
The young achievers who met Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, however, expressed hope of getting more sponsors. “Mountaineering is still not included as a sport. It is defined differently by various states. Thus, our chances of getting sponsors are bleak, but we are hopeful after Rijiju sir’s words of appreciation,” Tashi said.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand government is providing a sports scholarship to the young women. “We are delighted to provide a sports scholarship to the young achievers. We have offered them to travel to New Zealand and study a year long course on Sports and Exercise Psychology,” said Deputy High Commissioner, New Zealand, Michael Appleton.
Raising awareness against gender discrimination, the sisters also talked about the need to challenge gender stereotypes. “Our achievements are not just our own. It is a message to the society that binds down girls to the four walls of their homes,” Tashi said, who along with her sister, are currently pursuing their scholarship in New Zealand.
“We are happy to add another moment of pride and glory for the Indian girl child. For now we are focused on raising the bar of performance so that the girls can claim their rightful place of dignity and respect in our society,” Tashi added.
The twins, who are from Uttarakhand and Haryana, have now set their eyes on Mt Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand.
Isn’t it is strange that the media covers a lot of sports news, but that this feat has not yet hit the sports headlines?
[Written by intern Tanushree with inputs from media sources]