ISLAMABAD - Iqra Khan vows to become Olympics and world boxing champion and also wants to be a role-model for Pakistani girls.

Talking to The Nation, 17-year-old Iqra, along with her coach Olympian Ahmed Ali, said: “Boxing is my life. I started taking interest in this game last year. I have been studying in UK and was at Lahore on vacations to watch National Boxing Championship. I met with coach Ahmed Khan there, who, after witnessing my passion, offered me to coach and also wants me to take part in national championship. I decided to represent Islamabad and in the very first event of my life, I succeeded in winning silver medal. Had I not competed against the national champion, I would have won the gold.”

Iqra challenged that if provided with environment, facilities and secure conditions, she had very little doubts that why not parents would allow their daughters to participate in different sports. “I belong to AJK and my parents always supported me a lot. I want to not only learn boxing, but also want to utilise my skills to greater extent and first play in professional leagues, then represent Pakistan in international mega events.

“I am very fortunate to have the likes of experienced coach Ahmed Khan. I am ready to stay in Islamabad and request IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza to make arrangements for not only my stay at Pakistan Sports Complex, but also arrange coach for me and other females. I would happy, if Ahmed could spare time for me, but he is very busy with his departmental commitments. If his department can spare him for national duty, he can transform raw talent into champions,” she added.

The young boxer said she wants to meet with British boxer Amir Khan, as he has top class boxing academy in Islamabad. “I will continue my studies online and spend more time in learning boxing trade. This game is very important for women for their self-defence. We don’t need to be scared and want to depend upon ourselves. We are proud to be girls.

“I am in Pakistan to prove myself. I am grateful to Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) President Major General (R) M Akram Sahi, who is very caring and motivating. I told him that I want to be trained as a boxer. Despite being AFP President, he offered his all-out support. “I just got three days training and won silver. If I get proper training under proper coach, I am bound to excel and win laurels for Pakistan. It depends how government handles me. I don’t want to tie down with some department, who dictates terms. A country, where hardly male boxers are available, I want to change the traditions and show others to follow my footsteps,” Iqra concluded.

Sharing his views, Iqra’s coach Olympian Ahmed Ali said: “I am very inspired by young Iqra, who is not scared and wants to fight till the end, which is the only thing that can lead her to the top. I am ready to help Iqra and provide her with all my experience and knowledge. If my department spares me, I’ll glad to spend more and more time with her and train her properly.”