KARACHI: Muhammad Inam Butt became the first Pakistani to win two world titles as he successfully defended his place at the Beach Wrestling World Champion in the -90kg category in Turkey on Sunday night.
He outclassed Georgia’s Irakli Mtsituri 3-1 with an impressive tactic.
Earlier, he had defeated Greek wrestler Grigorios Kriaridis 3-0 in the semi-final, while he beat Ukraine’s Victor Solovino 3-0 in the quarter-final.
The 29-year-old has been the most consistent wrestler for the country as he had also lifted the gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which was his second time after he raised the national flag in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Last year too, he became the first Pakistani to win any world title in wrestling, but his pleas and requests to help wrestlers get better by having improved training programs and sending them abroad to train had fallen on deaf ears.
In Turkey, as he lifted the title his aim was simple, to show he is a proud Pakistani and send the message to the government and the authorities that there is enough talent in the country to even lift an Olympic medal too. He achieved this without any training camps from the Pakistan Sports Board.
He had told The Express Tribune before leaving for Turkey as well that it has been a long struggle for him, since he had to come back from a knee injury that left him out of the Asian Games in August.
But his aim was clear which was to win the championship one more time, despite the odds of training in Gujranwala, creating an environment of beach wrestling, at a city that doesn’t even have a shore.
“The PSB didn’t give us any camp and the Pakistan Wrestling Federation can only do so much,” Inam told The Express Tribune. “We need that surface because beach wrestling is different than the normal one, which we do on a mat. So we would get the sand and try to create those conditions at my Akhara (gym) in Gujranwala. We couldn’t even go to Karachi, because we didn’t have the resources.”
Meanwhile, in a video message, Inam dedicated the win to the young wrestlers of his Akhara, who train in impossible conditions.
And he is sending out a message to the officials and the government that he does not need the usual congratulations and praises this time, he needs more, the Pakistan wrestling needs better from the country they fight for.
Even at the championship he was accompanied by his father Muhammad Safdar Butt, who was his cheerleader and there for moral support, and his fellow wrestler Asad Butt.
“My father is with me, which means there is no room to lose, I feel more pressure because of him, I just don’t want to disappoint him,” said Inam.
“Thanks to Allah, I’ve done it again for Pakistan,” Inam sent a video message to The Express Tribune. “I’ve won this world title one more time for Pakistan. I want to dedicate this win to the young wrestlers of my Akhara. There are at least 100 kids who come to train with us, in this Akhara there is no roof, neither a proper floor, this Akhara is like an ancient ruin.
“We need to take out wrestling mats one by one for the kids who come every day to train. They are from 10 year olds to well into their teenage. This medal, I want to dedicate to them, because it is because of their effort and mine that I got it today.”
Inam gets serious and makes no soft appeal when he adds, “I want to tell this to the government of Pakistan and everybody who is in the authority that the way they are congratulating me, they should make one wrestling academy in Gujranwala, so that we can produce more Inam’s for the country and we can win more medals.”
Inam also sent a video of his gym that only has a half-constructed concrete structure and the wrestlers are training outside in a less than steady floor. His Akhara is near Sheikhupura Mor in Gujranwala.
Inam will now return home on October 9.