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Friday, June 14, 2024

From Panja to Rap – This multi-talented individual on the rise is one to look out for!

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Twenty-six-year-old Ahmed Faizan Ali is a multi-faceted sportsman who has, over the years, taken on both football and arm-wrestling. He hails from King Koti and has currently made arm-wrestling his primary focus. In just a short period of time he has managed to bag a bronze medal at his debut tournament, the Telangana Arm-Wrestling Championship and went onto compete at the All-India Nationals and at the Pro Panja League.

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“In one way or another, they saw me progress which in turn has given me a reason to sustain this”

Faizan grew up surrounded by an exceptionally supportive family who encouraged him to live out his dreams. His father worked as a moulder in an aluminium company in Saudi Arabia, his mother is a homemaker, and his older brother opened a pre-primary school a few years ago. Faizan’s brother especially took the time out to mentor and champion him over the years. The young athlete never took his family’s faith in him for granted, and instead felt the responsibility to keep pushing forth, not stagnate and bring in the results. He goes onto share, “In one way or another, they saw me progress which in turn has given me a reason to sustain this.”

Faizan’s journey with arm-wrestling can be traced all the way back to his formative years when he would challenge his school and college mates to a friendly game of panja. Back then he indulged in the game for the genuine interest it elicited within him, and it was football he had decided to make a career in. But an unfortunate accident that occurred during a game in 2017, rendered him hopeless. Knowing his chances of playing the game he loved were slim to none, sent him down the rabbit-hole.

Nevertheless, Faizan found arm-wrestling. While helping create an admissions banner for his brother’s school at a local designer shop, he chanced upon a banner for the Telangana Arm-Wrestling Championship. And since then, there was no looking back. “If there is anything that has kept my sports spirit up, it is arm-wrestling,” Faizan states matter-of-factly. He has since gone on to win a bronze medal at his debut tournament, the Telangana Arm-Wrestling Championship in 2018, competed at the All-India Nationals in 2022 which encouraged him to take on the Pro Panja League that was held in Gwalior the same year.

Faizan’s professional career has seen a lot of ebbs and flows but it is arm-wrestling and his other passion, creating music, which has kept him going.

Over time, Faizan quietly fostered a deep love for creating music as well. He is currently pursuing a course in Hindustani vocals at Thyagaraja Government College of Music and Dance and is in the midst of writing his own music which lets him tap into a side of himself that is poetic. He likens rap music to poetry and has now found refuge in at alongside arm-wrestling. At the 2022 Pro Panja League, Faizan also had the good fortune of performing the Pro Panja League National Anthem live which left him feeling nothing but immense gratitude. Going forward he aims to give both his passions the same attention and care. “In the coming years I see myself as an artist and an arm-wrestler,” a hopeful Faizan concludes.

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