Even at a very young age, it was hard for Hayat Achakzai to imagine himself as anything other than a boxer.At the tender age of 11, Hayat started his boxing career, with an ambition to be the best boxer in the country.
Life is not easy for most sportsmen in Pakistan where the lack of basic facilities for practice hinders your professional development. And like so many other champions, even Hayat had to overcome many challenges to be considered a contender.
He won the gold medal in 2004 National Games at the age of 22. The feeling was ‘fascinating’, says HayatAchakzai. “Before entering the tournament, I told myself that I am not going back home without taking the gold medal and thankfully, I didn’t.”
However, winning the National Games was not the destination but part of the journey for him. The feat of any sportsman is not ordinary but it becomes special in a country where people come to prominence through sheer talent and overcoming all kind of odds.That’s what happened when HayatAchakzai earned gold medal at the President Cup in 2005 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Remembering the moment Hayat says, “There were boxers from 44 countries and some fearsome names were there too. Getting on to the podium was my dream since childhood. I trained very hard for the competition as I couldn’t let that dream slip out of my hands. So I gave it everything and by the grace of Allah, I brought glory to my country.”
Hayat says ‘boxing is my passion and I cannot separate myself from it’. Perhaps this is the reason, he accepted a coaching offer from WAPDA and started training young boxers after playing for the same team for many years. He remained their champion from 2006 to 2011.
The fire of competing at the international level is still burning inside him, ashe wants to stay in the ring. He doesn’t want to hang his gloves, thinking he is still a young, 33-year-old, fit and has some fight in him. He is aiming to contest either in Iran for 2018 Al- Fajar Cup or as a professional player in Australia before retiring.
His friends also encourage him to continue as a professional boxer and their motivation has kept him going. Dedicated sportsmen like him are a source of inspiration for us and we pray for his success.