Malaika Zahid, a 15-year-old from Balochistan, pursued her dream of becoming a boxer. She has been training for the past five years now. Malaika initially joined the boy’s training club as there were no facilities available for women in Balochistan.
She was greatly impressed by boxer Amir Khan, which inspired her to become one of Pakistan’s top players. In the interprovincial boxing championship, Malaika has won four golds in the lightweight category. That is not all! She has also won a silver medal in the National Games.
During an interview, she said, “I had started my boxing career from a boys club where I was the only girl practicing along with boys, which never deterred me from skipping my passion; I have knocked out many boys in our club.”
Malaika comes from a province where several militant groups are active, so women’s movements have been significantly restricted. None the less, it has never come in between Malaika’s passion for her craft. All the credit goes to her unconventional father, Muhammad Zahid. In Malaika’s boxing career, her father, Zahid, has been the constant support.
Malaika further added, “I used to go to sports grounds with my father and cousins and started playing soccer and climbing walls, but one day I was watching a boxing match of international boxing player Amir Khan who inspired me, and I requested my father that I want to become a boxing player.”
Zahid added, “When I saw her passion and skills, I took her to one of Quetta’s famous boxing clubs headed by a senior provincial boxer, Atta Muhammad Kakar.”
In 2020, Balochistan Youth Department awarded Malaika the Balochistan Star Award. It is a prize given by the department to encourage young talent in the region. However, Malaika thinks there is a lot of improvement that is required. The government needs to make honest efforts to support athletes.
Zahid further added, “In the beginning, Malaika faced hardships … but she showed steadfastness and continued her practice and has motivated other girls as well; parents should support their children, particularly girls if they want to become athletes.”
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