Insha Afsar – Pakistan’s Paralympic Skier Who Lost a Leg in 2005 Earthquake

It was some 15 years ago when Pakistan was struck with one of the most devastating earthquakes in 2005. Where the disaster swallowed thousands of lives and left the country in deep trauma, it also showed us how to strive for survival and power through a six-year-old girl, Insha Afsar.

Insha Afsar was one of the thousand victims of the 2005 earthquake and lost her leg to this calamitous event. Her story does not end there.

Afsar pictured in the April 17, 2006 issue of TIME magazine (Photo by Yuri Kozyrev)

She went to the US, with her father, after six months of the incident for her prosthesis. In 2006, her photo published in TIMES magazine resulted in the readers to drift their attention towards this girl, dressed in a red coat and standing with the help of crutches. She caught the eye of one of the editors of the magazine, who offered her his space and also helped her resuming her studies by sending her to school.

On her friends’ suggestion to join them in skiing, Insha accepted the challenge, and today, she is one of the best skiers in Pakistan.

Insha was the only representation of Pakistan in the 2018 Paralympics held in South Korea. Along with that, she has also participated in Hartford Ski Spectacular in 2013 and the US Paralympic Alpine National Championship in 2015, where she competed with more than 40 athletes.

Source: Twitter

Though it wasn’t easy for Insha’s family to digest the fact of her being a sportswoman, they still supported in her journey throughout. She says, “I come from a place where it’s not common for a woman to be an athlete. Coming to the US and pursuing a sport that I love, that might inspire people to come forward and do what they want to do, despite what’s holding them back.”

A survivor and a fighter, Insha is not just an inspiration for disabled athletes, but this 18-year-old is also an exemplar for those who want to excel in life. She hopes that her passion for the sport may encourage others as well. She is also hopeful for more female representations of Pakistan in different sports.

Asfar’s journey is a clear message that nothing can hold you back, once you are determined and a firm believer. It’s a wild passion that makes things happen and GOD always look out for those who strive.