CRICKETER Jasmin Akter is an inspiration for all of us.

The newly-crowned Bradford Sportswoman of the Year’s story is simply astonishing.

A Rohingya refugee, Akter was born in a camp in Bangladesh shortly after her father passed away. For almost a decade, she lived in poverty.

Her family came to the UK when Akter was eight years old through the Gateway Resettlement programme, operated by the UN in partnership with the UK government.

In 2014, while visiting Bangladesh, Akter, her brother and her mother were involved in a car accident which left her mother paraplegic.

While still in full-time education, Akter became one of her mother’s carers.

Akter speaks about how sport has changed her life and provided her with something to take her mind off matters in her personal life.

She said: “I started playing sport in 2015 after my mum had a car accident the year before. At 13, I had to mature really quick because there was no one to look after the household. I sacrificed my childhood and took up that role because that was my priority.

“In 2014 I started playing cricket at a school club because I had to get out of depression. That is how I have reached that stage now with the support and love that I received.

“If you go back five years ago I was a shy girl, sport made me come out of myself. I used to isolate myself but you would not have thought that standing here now. Sport has made me who I am now.”

The Bradford College student was in Miami at the end of last year acting as a Young Leader for Street Child United, which uses the power of sport - especially international sporting events - to change the perception of street-connected children all over the world.

She was named Everything in Sport’s Unsung Heroine in Women’s Sport 2019 - weeks after appearing on the BBC 100 Woman 2019 list of inspiring and influential females.

Akter has also just been awarded Sportswoman of the Year at the Bradford Sports Awards 2020, beating off global rugby league star Amy Hardcastle and taekwondo talent Ellie Bowden.

The 18-year-old was blown away after receiving such an accolade and hopes that she can be an inspiration for other refugees to achieve such feats.

Speaking firstly on her inclusion in the BBC list, she said: “That was a dream come true because I did never imagine myself to be on that platform. To be at that stage with all the other role models out there.

“When I was nominated I thought there was no chance that I will be on the list. When I heard the result, I had tears in my eyes because I couldn’t believe it. Someone like me being a refugee, I don’t think anyone has done that yet. When my mum found out she also had tears in her eyes.

“There were people that were telling my family saying don’t let your daughter play sport, they were the same people who said ‘congratulations, your daughter is doing such a great job, can she coach our children?’ I felt as though I had earned respect.

“I still think it’s a dream. They say that refugees have no identity and I am working to give them one because if I can reach this platform then so can they. We need to raise awareness of who we are and keep it up.”

So what is next for this ambitious young woman? She said: “I am going to continue what I am doing as a young leader with Street Child United.

“My aim is to raise awareness for gender equality. What happened was I faced a lot of discrimination because they said you’re a girl, you should not play sport.

“There are millions of girls around the world who are scared to come out of that zone and take up whatever career field they want to do even if that is not sport.”

Aktar’s final message is one of defiance at those who have doubted her in the past and those who may be struggling to be accepted currently.

She added: “You should not judge someone on who they are. See what they have inside them and support them to be better.”