Meet Lyari's national, international level champions
Karachi’s Lyari has limited resources, but its youth’s passion finds a way anyway.
Sixteen-year-old Sumera didn’t have her own bicycle when she started, but her high ambitions eventually made her a national champion.
“I wanted to be a cyclist after I saw my cousin training for it,” Sumera told SAMAA TV’s show Naya Din Tuesday. “My uncle asked me if I wanted to start training too, and I said yes.”
But not having her own bicycle was not the only challenge that Sumera faces. She has no parents and three siblings to look after all on her own, including an older brother with special needs.
“I go to school everyday,” said Sumera. “After coming home, I prepare meals for my siblings and get them ready for madrassah. I then leave for my training.”
When asked if it is easy for girls to pursue cycling in Lyari, Sumera talked about the discouragement that comes her way, especially from her neighbours.
“They ask me what use cycling will be,” she said. “They also pass comments on my clothes [jeans and T-shirt]. There’s also a lot of teasing.”
But she doesn’t let any of that overcome her passion. “Without letting it affect me, I pray to God for more courage because I want to do something for my siblings and Pakistan.”
Sumera’s coach Asif says she performed better than many others when he took her on. He tries his best to get her the best bicycles when she’s participating in competitions.
“I borrow the best ones [cycles] from other trainees,” said Asif. He said he used to train boys too, but now trains girls only.
“I want all my trainees to bring international titles for the country,” he said, requesting for cooperation and funds for his hard-working trainees.
Sumera’s dream cycle costs Rs2.6 million.
Another inspiring story is that of Nadir Baloch, a boxing champion who has not only won four national titles, but also holds two international ones. He knocked out in December last year Afghan boxer Hassan in the eighth round of WBC Middle East championship.
“I’ve been training for boxing since childhood,” said Baloch. “Also, my uncle has represented Pakistan internationally.”
When asked what a person needs to be a good boxer, Baloch said: “You need to be very strong because a punch can land anywhere.”
He said limited resources in Lyari cannot undermine the youth’s burning passion. “It doesn’t matter. If you have a passion, you’ll make it anyway.”
Baloch’s dream is to win all of the international boxing titles for Pakistan and also to open a boxing institute in Layri.
“I keep sharing ideas with aspiring boxers,” he said. “But I want to train them properly.”