After spending around two decades in corporate America, Irfan quit his job at Microsoft in 2011 to focus full time on social development projects in Kashmir. Previously, he worked for US companies and even had a brief stint with J&K PDD between 1988-1990.
Irfan has always believed in the power of sports. Growing up in Kashmir, Irfan played and captained multiple teams between 1978 and 1990. During this time, he captained Regional Engineering college Srinagar hockey team and Kashmir Mughals hockey club besides representing the J&K state, Kashmir University, SP college and Burn Hall school in the same sport. He has also played multiple other sports both in Kashmir and later in USA after 1990. Ironically, his first job in USA was that of a soccer referee.
Irfan believes that sports – besides promoting participation, discipline, health, tolerance, gender equality, teamwork – is a great equalizer. It doesn’t matter where you come from – rich or poor; or how much formal education you have received. All you need is skills and a safe space to cultivate and promote the skills. In a complex landscape like Kashmir, we need this equalizer.
Irfan completed his BE from (NIT) Kashmir University, Srinagar (J&K) in 1987 and MS from University of Florida, Gainesville in 1992. He is also the founder and CEO of social development organization CHINAR International.
Amjad Khan was born in Kashmir and represented Jammu & Kashmir at U-19 level and then Ranji Trophy national cricket championship before emigrating to the US in 1990 where he played for and captained the US National Cricket team. He also captained Kashmir University in All India Inter University cricket championship. Amjad went to Burn Hall school and then Regional Engineering college in Kashmir, graduating with a degree in Electronics and Communication engineering. Amjad went on to get a Masters in Computer Science in New York.
Amjad has been a sports fanatic all his life and still continues to pursue his passion by playing club cricket in Dubai, leading two prominent Kashmir clubs in UAE, Dachigam Hanguls and Dubai Hawks.
Amjad holds the record for the highest individual score in North America, having scored 304 not out in a 45-over quarter-final game in California in 1999. At a professional level, Amjad has been with Microsoft for the last 15 years, currently leading their Cloud business in Middle East and Africa, based out of Dubai, UAE.
Ajaz Ahmed was born in Srinagar, Kashmir and studied at Tyndale Biscoe School.
Ajaz has been a keen sportsman through out his time, participating in both team and individual sports. He particularly excelled in football and athletics.
He started football at an early age rose to be the the captain of the Biscoe School team and won a number of tournaments, playing as right winger. He further pursed his football in SP college and then studied civil engineering at Regional Engineering College(REC), Now NIT Sriangar.
Ajaz has played inter-university tournaments, played at the national level two times and played in the Kashmir League Division A and Division B, winning the latter division as well.
Athletics wise, he was athletics captain of the REC and has a personal record of completing the 100m race in 10.5 seconds. He participated in short distance events such as 100m,200m and 400m and been awarded the College Color in his final year of college.
Mr. Ajaz then moved to the United Arab Emirates and is now a Chief Engineer for the one of the Government Departments.
His love of football has not been hindered over the years as he is the president of the Kashmir football league-Dubai for the past 6 years, a tournament which he has won once as well. This league comprises of players form many parts of the world.
His vision is to provide a platform through media of sports to the Kashmiri community in the UAE.
Downtown Heroes FC also seeks to build youth capacity in these domain through partnership with training institutions and centres.
Downtown Sports Club
Pulloo Complex, Munawarabad, M.A. link Road, Srinagar, Kashmir 190001 (J&K) India
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