Qudsia Raja, Pakistan’s first female tennis umpire, hails from the metropolis of Karachi. Her journey in the world of sports began when she was only a ninth-grade school girl.
Raja still remembers when her school was defeated by another school in a throwball match. Upon loosing, sports addict Raja could not hold back her tears and began crying standing in the court.
Seeing Raja’s reaction, her teacher came and asked why the young girl was so upset when she was not even playing for the team. “Because we lost” Raja replied to the teacher. Upon hearing this, the teacher suggested, “You can play and lead the school to victory next year.”
The day became a turning point in Qudsia Raja’s life. After this incident in 1989, she started playing sports, but unfortunately, lost her father the same year. His death left her responsible for the care of her family; she now had to earn bread and butter for them. But young raja could not think anything else besides the playground; it was everything for her.
Raja never gave up on her passion she started umpire others upon her teacher’s suggestion. “That is when the start of my professional career began. I, alongside umpiring, continued my studies too.”
Raja recalls her mother’s pride and joy whenever she won a trophy or medal. “My mother used to say always choose to do quality work. Always prefer a prestigious profession to an ordinary one.”
Raja was lucky enough to have good mentors around her. She became the first tennis and table tennis umpire of Pakistan with their help.
She completed a course of umpiring under the leadership of Sir M. Sibtain at the Pakistan tennis table federation. “I got an opportunity to lead in international umpiring and became an umpire at the South Junior Table Tennis Championship in 2007.”
Raja was also given the honor of being an umpiring at the South Asian Table Tennis Championships in Sri Lanka in 2017. She performed the duties of umpiring with seven different federations of Pakistan and worked as an official. Raja umpired almost 7 different sports. She performed duties as a line judge in the Davis Cup and the tournament between Pakistan and Iran. She is one of the few women that have been bestowed with such honor.
Tody Raja’s only wish is to umpire in a tennis event globally, “I am grateful to all my teachers and teachers who have given me the best platform and I have become the first international tennis and table tennis empire of Pakistan.”