Raina Zaffar of Guwahati, who recently won the doubles crown at the National Ranking Championship Series U-18 held in Kolkata, was handed over the ‘Star of North East’ award at a dignified event held at her residence in the city on Sunday afternoon. The award was handed over jointly by A Sabur Tapader, founder Director of Unity Education Foundation (UEF) and Tinat Atifa Masood, President, Rotary Club of Guwahati. With this, Raina joins the exalted rank of Star awardees among whom are Nafisa Sadiq, the first rower from Assam to represent India at the Asian Junior Rowing Championship in 2013, 2014 and 2015; Kismat Bano, emerging stage actor and recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademy scholarship; and Alisha Khan, the Assam state champion in rhythmic and artistic gymnastics from 1996 to 2007.
Raina’s father Shahnawaz Zaffar is a NIS Patiala trained tennis coach of national fame while her mother Nazneen Zaffar is also an accomplished tennis player. Raina’s foray into tennis began in 2010 under the coaching of ITF trainer Pinak Bh Gogoi. In July 2016, she reached the semi finals of the National Ranking Championship for Girls U-16 played in Gurgaon in July 2016 and won the doubles crown at the National Ranking Tennis Championship for Girls U-18 held in Kolkata in October 2016.
Speaking on behalf of UEF, Tapader congratulated Raina and conveyed to her the best wishes of all sports lovers of the region. Syed Mohsin Raja, social & digital media expert and visiting faculty to IDOL, Gauhati University, presented a web domain “Raina.in” to the rising tennis star which she could convert into her website as and when she felt it necessary.
Among the Star of North East (SoNE) felicitation wing members Nazrul Islam, former President of Rotary Club of Guwahati; Dr Shabnam Choudhury, ESIC Hospital Guwahati; Hamad Barlashker, PR professional; and Sabah al Ahmed, PRO, Don Bosco Group were present on the occasion.
Accepting the award, Raina thanked the visitors and narrated many of her memorable moments in tennis while interacting with them. She also informed that her dream of being reckoned among the top 50 in her group in India is likely to materialise before the end of the year. Raihana Sultana, a budding singer, enthralled the crowd with a few Jayanta Hazarika numbers that she presented superbly on the occasion.