Jiu-Jitsu in Pakistan: Diamond in the Dust

Jiu-Jitsu in Pakistan: Diamond in the Dust

Jiu-Jitsu in Pakistan: Diamond in the Dust

Inage: File Photo


Jiu-Jitsu is one sport where Pakistani athletes are consistently shining, according to Isra Waseem, who has won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for the country at the international stage.

This statement is true as a daylight as Pakistani athletes won eight Bronze medals in the fifth Asian Championship that took place in Abu Dhabi in September this year.

Despite the success, a couple of months later, one of the most prolific Jiu-Jitsu players of the country Muhammad Ammar could not participate in the Jiu-Jitsu World Championship that took place in Abu Dhabi in November due to a lack of funds.

“I could not arrange sponsors for myself,” shared Ammar while talking to Bol News. “Every player has to arrange funds to participate in these events.”

Though a contingent from Pakistan participated in the event, they could not secure a medal and it was not surprising as one of their brightest hope to book a podium position could not travel due to lack of financial resources.


Ammar has been the national champion since 2008 in Men’s Duo System with his teammate Abu Huraira. He has won three Gold, four Silver and one Bronze medal for the country in his career so far.

After performing consistently at the international stage, the 30-year-old alongside Huraira was ranked third in the world.

“We had then qualified for the World Games 2017 in Poland and we were the only ones from Pakistan that had made it to the event on merit,” said Ammar. They could not win a medal for the country, but still, they were proud of their achievement.

The condition of Jiu-Jitsu is no different from any other individual sport in the country where athletes beg the authorities to provide at least the minimum support to them so they can train and participate in different tournaments.

Isra is happy with the recognition she has received in her short career so far. However, she questioned the role of the government in the entire scenario and wants the authorities to be more responsible about it.

“Pakistani media gives us extended coverage but the government also needs to appreciate us,” she said. “They have supported us in some events but I just hope they back us constantly. We don’t only play for money. Many countries have this policy of monetary rewards but we just want their support [for training and travelling].”


Ammar elaborated on the dire situation of funds of the Pakistan Jiu-Jitsu Federation in the country and maintained that it has been long since the governing body received any sort of financial support from the government.

“Federation used to get funds from the government but they are not getting it for the last few years,” he revealed. “It has been at least five years since they got it. After 2012, when they got the affiliation [with the Pakistan Sports Board], they got the funds for a couple of years only.”

Moreover, according to Ammar, a Jiu-Jitsu player belonging to the lower social class cannot meet ends by just playing this sport in Pakistan.

Ammar, who started practising martial arts back in 2005, got a job in the Navy in 2012 but he was unsatisfied with their sports policies. He resigned from there and got associated with WAPDA. This employment has helped him a lot in surviving financially.

However, he believes that the situation can change for worse after the revelation of new government policies.

“I have a business and a job to shoulder my expenses,” he shared. “Now, according to the new policy of the federal government, the sports funds will be given to regions and they will further distribute it. It will harm sports in the country even more.”


Image: File Photo

He further maintained that despite having a Rs2 billion budget, Sindh sports is in a dismal situation. Earlier, kids from the lower social class were confident that government jobs will help them sustain, now the situation will become even worse.

In contrast, the 21-year-old Isra, who is pursuing a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of Karachi, is motivated and believes that if anyone has the will, they can survive.

“I do freelancing and run a small online business to meet my expenses,” she said. “And when I have a degree, I can get a job too. If you are willing, you can do everything.”

Isra wants to follow both studies and Jiu-Jitsu simultaneously in the future as practising martial arts is her passion and having ‘Dr’ attached with her name is her parents’ wish.

“My parents wanted me to become a doctor but I wanted to do sports. Now, I am doing both,” she reiterated. “I want to win medals for the country in international competitions.”


On the other hand, Ammar finds it hard to stay motivated and he often loses the courage to chase his dreams.

“Sometimes we lose heart, but it is our sportsman spirit that keeps us going,” he maintained.

The multiple-time national champion has little expectations from the authorities; thus he appealed to the private sponsors to finance him and other athletes who can bring glory to the country.

“Individual sports like boxing and Jiu-Jitsu have a higher possibility of winning medals. If private companies sponsor us, we can win more medals for the country,” he urged.

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