Mohammad Waseem after defeating Philippines’ Jether Oliva in Seoul. PHOTO COURTESY: Andy Kim
QUETTA: World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver Flyweight title holder Mohammad Waseem urged people of Balochistan on Monday to participate in anti-polio drives in order to make the province polio-free.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, the Quetta-based pugilist said that he hopes his province will become the first one in Pakistan to be declared polio-free. “I want to see Balochistan as the first Pakistani province to be pronounced as polio-free,” he said.
The boxer said that lack of awareness among people is one reason why they don’t allow their children to get vaccinated against such a crippling disease. “I request religious leaders to disseminate messages regarding polio and advise all parents to vaccinate their children to protect their future,” he said.
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Waseem added: “I am a sportsman, and I know the importance of being healthy. It is a blessing that most diseases these days are preventable, hence, we should benefit from vaccinations rather than questioning them.”
The pugilist also said that it was sad and worrying that Pakistan is named among two countries in the world where polio is still endemic.
Making Balochistan proud
The flyweight stated that he lacked words for describing how it felt making his province and his country proud.
“I am very happy that I made my province and my country proud,” he said. “I cannot explain the feeling when I received the championship belt.”
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Waseem also sent a message to youngsters of the province to persist in the face of adversity, and never give up on their dreams.
“I used to run on the streets of Quetta because there wasn’t any proper stadium or gym for me to train,” he said, urging Balochistan’s government to provide better facilities to young and emerging talent.
“Even before my Silver Flyweight title match, I faced financial crisis.
“However, it was my dream to represent Pakistan on such a big platform and I did it,” he added.
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The Quetta-born also thanked his South Korean manager and promoter Andy Kim for supporting him financially. “I played for Pakistan, but I am thankful to the Koreans who helped me and took care of all my expenditures,” he said.
However, he added that the government of Balochistan has agreed to undertake all his future expenses.