At the Olympic Games in Rio, a woman represented Pakistan for the first time in a shooting event: the 10-meter air rifle. In a country where rifles are so visibly used by men on a daily basis, it’s refreshing to see a woman who is an expert at shooting in such a public platform as the Olympics.
And yet, Minhal Sohail, 21, keeps it real. She wears hijab and doesn’t wear much makeup or fuss over her eyebrows. She seems modest and reserved. Never mind that she didn’t qualify to the final round, she broke a glass ceiling in the sport for Pakistan just by being there for women, being present, taking part, and giving her best for her country.
She didn’t receive much press for her role in this year’s Games. Pakistani newspapers and blogs seemed to highlight the fact that she ranked higher than her two Indian rivals, at 28th place.
But, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, the renowned feminist documentary filmmaker, created a short documentary on Minhal which shows her practicing with her trainer and discussing what an honor it is to be the first woman to represent Pakistan in shooting.
In the video, Minhal said that she hopes other women will follow in her footsteps.
I hope that she will inspire more Pakistani fathers and mothers to teach their daughters how to use guns, as well as encourage a new generation of women to dream big and have the courage to chase after their goals.
Contributed by Carol Khan