BEIJING: Wushu, or the Chinese martial art has surged into a popular game in Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), according to a report published by Gwadar Pro.
The repor says, the province has produced talented players who have represented KP at national and international competitions.
Experts viewed that Wushu could be further promoted if Pakistani players and coaches get training in China or Chinese coaches start visiting the country to share their experiences with the local players.
“It would be one of the top games in the province if we had adequate facilities, foreign qualified coaches and proper training camps,” Najmullah Safi, Secretary General Wushu Association KP, told Gwadar Pro.
Najmullah, 38, is one of the finest Wushu players and a trainer in KP who runs Rehmat Martial Art Academy Peshawar. The academy has cultivated many Wushu players of international caliber.
More than 100 players are attending different classes of Wushu at the academy. “My academy has produced national gold medalists and South Asian champions,” Najmullah said adding that seven of his students are part of the current national team.
Thousands of kids are playing Wushu in different academies of Peshawar. The popularity of the game could easily be seen by the presence of local Wushu teams in all 35 districts of KP.
In 1993-94, Najmullah started training under the supervision of Wushu trainer Rehmat Gul Afridi in Peshawar and soon established himself as a top class Wushu player.
2003 and 2014, he won the title eight times in national Wushu games with a gold medal in an international competition between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2005.
“In 2018-19, I won a gold medal for my country during a series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in kickboxing,” he told Gwadar Pro.
Being a player himself, Najmullah began to coach other children at Rehmat Martial Art Academy, Qayyum Stadium Peshawar, in 2014.
He contributes the popularity of Wushu in KP to his teachers Rehmat Gul Afridi, Khizar Ali Shah and Mian Waheed Shah. Currently he is running Rehmat Martial Art Academy Peshawar, located over Ring Road of the metropolis.
Najmullah Safi said that parents happily send their children to Wushu academy for training. “It is a physical activity that also helps mental growth,” he said.
Taimoor Javed, 24, is one of Najmullah’s students who represented Pakistan in six different countries in Wushu competitions.
He is also South Asian champion. During the last World Wushu Championship Beijing, Taimoor did not garner any medal and was defeated in the quarterfinal round. “My goal is to become Asian Champion and World Champion,” Taimoor Javed told Gwadar Pro.
Zahid Ullah, 15, is a seventh grader who attends the Wushu academy in the evening. Speaking with Gwadar Pro, he said, “My family is very supportive of my aim to become the best Wushu player; I want to represent my country internationally.”
Najmullah says Pakistan has made utmost efforts to develop the game with resources available; however, with inadequate existing facilities for talented Wushu players like Taimoor Javed, it is impossible to become a world champion. In this regard, he is looking to China to help lift the game in Pakistan.
As China offers scholarships to Pakistani students studying in China, similar support is also needed in the field of games to ensure the nation’s healthy and strong future, according to Najmullah. China is a world leader in games such as basketball, volleyball, swimming, badminton, track and field and martial arts and one of the main reasons is the availability of the best training facilities for the players.
“If our children can have some courses in China and our instructors receive advanced training there, it will help promote Wushu in Pakistan,” Najmullah said.
to him, if China provides them with facilities like boxing gear and Chinese instructors make occasional visits to Pakistan to train the children, “it will not only promote Wushu game in Pakistan but would also further strengthen friendship between the two countries”.