Passion, excitement, adrenaline rush, enthusiasm and unity are just a few words that come to mind when we speak of sports. A sport is not just a leisure activity or a form of physical exercise – it is way more than that. It is a lifestyle. The most crucial aspect of any sport is its players and players have to go a long way to get to a point where we can write posts about them. Pakistan has seen many sporting legends in its lifetime but the story of these five players were just too inspirational to be ignored any longer.
These players were not given any support from the government but that didn’t stop them from achieving their goals. These stories of hard work, dedication and passion will move you to tears.
1. Hashim Khan
The first ever success story of Pakistan. He was a ball boy at the British military club in Peshawar. He learnt to play squash barefoot in an open-air, plaster-covered brick court. The first time he ever traveled abroad was when he left to play at the British Open. He was absolutely unheralded but he went on to win the British Open, the Wimbledon of squash, with legendary ease.
2. Roshan Khan
Roshan Khan was Hashim Khan’s relative and he too made his name in the world of squash. He was an excellent player, but failed to receive any support from the Pakistani government to pursue his passion – so he did it on his own. He claimed 10 British Opens and 6 World Open titles. He was the only player to have been unbeaten in 500 matches straight. He was in financial straits before he started playing international squash and had no squash gear. When he went to play his first ever match at the British open, he went barefoot.
3. Muhammad Asif
Hailing from Faisalabad, Asif won the first title of 2012 IBSF World Snooker Championship. At this point, he did not even have the money to pay for a ticket to travel; so his friend collected money for him. After he won the championship, the government announced Rs1 million prize money for him.
4. Abdul Malik
Abdul Malik was a salesman – he sold ladies’ handbags at Haidery market in Karachi. He is also the winner of a gold medal in 75 kg category at Miami Muscle Mania Championships held in Florida. The Pakistan Bodybuilding Federations didn’t provide him with any financial support so he bore all the expenses himself and returned with gold!
5. Muhammad Karim
“I started skiing at the age of four years on wooden skis made by my uncle. Our schools were closed in the winter and skiing was the only way to spend our holidays,” he told AFP. “We made skis ourselves and went skiing on local slopes, then later the air force organised a competition in which we learnt more and then started this profession.”
Only the second ever Pakistani to be a part of the Men’s Giant Slalom at Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. He was selected among the 108 alpine skiers which was no small feat. Unfortunately, he couldn’t manage to get in the top 50 but American athlete, and gold medalist, Ligety ended up a spot behind him at number 72.