Boxer from South Waziristan Muhammad Bilal Mehsud. – A file photo

Bushra Mehsud

PESHAWAR: At a time when everyone else in South Waziristan was busy in leaving the area due to law and order concerns, Muhammad Bilal Mehsud from Badar Valley was obsessed with his passion to become a prominent boxer of the country.

“Right from my childhood I saw dreams of overcoming my rival boxers in the ring and getting applause from thousands of spectators,” Bilal Mehsud said while talking to TNN. He said he formally initiated boxing in 2012 and within a year became the national champion. He said he continued his hard work and soon won an international competition as well. He said millions of people were praying for him when he was representing Pakistan in the international contests. He said when he saw love of people and their support and encouragement, he realised that Almighty Allah has fulfilled his childhood dream.

Bilal Mehsud said he is representing Pakistan in four international competitions. He said he has won nine medals so far in wushu boxing, professional boxing and savate. He got initial training from Asif Malik and then Alam Zubair Khan coached him and groomed him for international competitions.

Bilal won bronze medal in his first national level fight. In 2017, 11 players each from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan were taking part in the three-nation games. Ten Pakistani players lost the competition and Bilal was the only one from Pakistan who won the gold medal. After that, he won silver medal in South Asian Championship and also represented Pakistan in the WBA. In savate, Bilal won gold medal by defeating rival player from Sri Lanka.

Bilal said people had negative perceptions about Waziristan at that time. He felt that he failed to find job at that time because he was a Mehsud. He said he was perturbed over negative perceptions about his area despite the fact that there were so many positive things, but that were ignored. He said now everyone in the world has realised that people of Waziristan are peace loving and highly talented and patriotic.

The talented boxer said he is a teacher in a private school and hardly makes end meet. He said he spends from his own pocket for participating in boxing competitions and sometimes he fail to make it to international competitions due to financial constraints. He said he can bring more medals for Pakistan if the government supports him. He said he is determined to project soft image of Waziristan as an ambassador of peace. He said he aims to become world champion and show the world that people of Waziristan can do this despite so many difficulties and challenges.