5 Pakistani Players Who Made Us Proud
One of the greatest squash players of all time, Hashim Khan, started working as a ball boy at the British Military Club in Peshawar after the untimely death of his father. He learned the game of squash there by playing barefoot on plaster-covered brick courts.
In 1944, he won the first All-of-India squash championship in Bombay; it was the first time he played on a court with a wooden floor. After the partition, he won the first Pakistani Squash Championship. In 1951, the Government of Pakistan sponsored him for the British Squash Championship and Khan travelled to United Kingdom to participate in the British Open.
No one had ever seen him or heard his name but Khan’s goal was to win the British Open, and he did. It was like one of those superhero movies, where an anonymous figure comes that no one knows of and beats everyone. Hashim Khan bagged six more British Opens in the later years. He also garnered five British Professional Championship titles, three US Open titles and three Canadian Open titles.
Pakistanis loved him to such an extent that thousands of people came to greet him when he returned to Pakistan in 1951. The Denver Athletic Club, Colorado, continues to hold a Hashim Khan Squash tournament in his honour every year.
Abdul Khaliq, better known as Parinda e Asia (Flying Bird of Asia), was the sole athlete from Pakistan who made Pakistanis proud during the Rome and Melbourne Olympics in 1960 and 1956 respectively.
He also bagged 100 gold medals in national games, 26 gold and 23 silver medals in International games. Abdul Khaliq not only received the medals but also set new records; his tremendous victory in Asian Games 1954 (Manila) set a new record in the history of athletics. This is when he was declared as the Parinda e Asia by Nehru.
He was also the National Athletics Coach at the National Sports Trust, Pakistan. Considering his achievements and zeal, Ayub Khan awarded him with the Pride of Performance Award in 1958.
Ghulam Muhammad aka Gama
Born in Punjab (British India), Ghulam Muhammad was a Muslim Wrestler who stayed in Pakistan after 1947. Gama Pehalwan was an inspiration for many wrestlers till this day.
He was undefeated for more than 50 years throughout his successful wrestling career and vanquished the world greatest wrestlers. Gama was trained by his father from the age of mere five. Gama’s diet included 7.5 litres of milk per day mixed with 1.5 pound of crushed almond paste and fruit juice. He performed 5000 squats and 3000 push-ups daily. Even Bruce Lee was inspired and incorporated Gama’s training methods in his own routine.
Great Gama was awarded with the Indian version of the World Heavyweight Championship in 1910. His name was included in Professional Wrestling Hall of fame. After a long period of illness this Great Wrestler was laid to rest in Lahore Pakistan.
Known as the ‘Golden Girl’ to her fans, Kiran Khan`s love for deep blue mysteries began in her school days. She officially became a member of the Pakistan Swim Team in the year 2000 and has been declared the National Junior Swimming Champion 8 times.
She holds the honour of the very first female international swimmer from Pakistan. She has represented a very proud nation in numerous international competitions and currently holds the honor of an 8th time international gold medalist.
She was the first Pakistani woman to win a gold medal in the South Asian swimming championship. With this accolade under her belt she became the only female athlete from Pakistan to have represented Muslim women on an international sports arena from any country. She was awarded the South Asian Women Media Award and declared the (SAWM) Face in 2008, also representing Pakistan in the prestigious 29th Olympic Games in Beijing later that same year.
She has won 6 international gold medals for Pakistan with 13 times bagging the best swimmer title. A 12 time national swimming champion who has the honor of the being the youngest ever to receive the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in 2012.
The Story of Abrar Hussain is a source of inspiration for us today.
Born on February 9, 1961 in Quetta, Syed Abrar Hussain represents Pakistan in three consecutive Olympics as a Star Boxer and won several accolades. At the age of five he lost his mother. He started boxing with life at the age of seven.
Despite of resistance from his step-mother he kept his passion. He left home and started living on footpaths and Mazars. He slept empty stomach and struggled with low category jobs yet he never complained. Due to his hard work he achieved eleven gold, six silver and five bronze medals at national and international events during his career.
Abrar’s patience and determination honoured him with Star of Excellence (Sitara-i-Imtiaz). He was also bestowed with Pride of Pakistan (one of the highest civil awards). The Boxer hero later served his country as a boxing coach and member of sports board in Quetta. He was shot dead outside his office in Quetta due to sectarianism.
Written by Salman Bokhari & Abdul Basit Shahid