We come across a number of inspiring stories of Pakistanis who are doing whatever it takes to etch their name in history – one such athlete is Shoukat Khan. A student of the Dr. Muhammad Khan Sports & Academy in Quetta, this specially-abled lad is encouraging men and women across Pakistan.
Not giving two cents about what others think, Khan has been practising different forms of arts for 11 years. He is trained in kickboxing, taekwondo, gymnastics, and Shotokan. These forms of martial arts have helped him gain body strength allowing him to protect himself.
While giving an interview to Arab News, the 22-year-old shared that he came to the academy because he wants to become a professional karate player to shut down the ‘sarcastic remarks’ he has received from people around him. Moreover, because of his willpower, he is the first person with disability from his province to take up such a difficult sport.
Zakir Khilji, his coach, described him as one of his most disciplined and hardworking students. “I wondered how an armless boy could practice karate,” he said. “But Shoukat astonished me with his courage and passion for martial arts.”
“Today he can perform stunts which most able-bodied people cannot do,” he continued. “He has set a new precedent for other persons with disabilities who sometimes give up hope and find it difficult to face the hardships in their lives.”
Khan is a silver medalist in gymnastics, he won the medal at an inter-district championship held in March of this year. Moreover, he won a gold for his club earlier in Quetta when a karate match was held with another special martial artist.
Unfortunately, Khan has not been able to participate in national-level categories as he could not find an opponent, however, he has his eyes set on Paralympics.
“Our family and his fellow club members have been campaigning for donations to get prosthetic arms for Shoukat which can cost over Rs1.8 million,” shared his elder brother. He added that he can still recall the day when 9-year-old Shoukat came home drenched in blood after he took up a fight with another boy.
Khan said he had seen many people with disabilities who were begging on different street corners. “I often share my story with such individuals and encourage them to join any sport that they like to play,” he continued. “This helps people face social pressures and live a more colourful life.”
We hope Shoukat continues to kick his way to success.
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