Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Interview with Karate Ace - Saleem Javed

Dallas is a brand which can be associated with both academics and sports. Universities here are highly reputable and sports have achieved an equal traction. SMU Cox community therefore is no different(well we might say its even better ;)). It focusses not only on education but also on collaborative learning; a culture where we seek guidance from notables of all domains. We all know how rare it is to find people who can balance their lives in all aspects. Last week I had one such opportunity. I am talking about Saleem Javed, a postgraduate in English, who has won various medals representing India with Gold medal in Asian Karate championship in 2011 being the most notable one.

Saleem was kind enough to give us a perspective about his life. Read on the excerpts to see life through his eyes.

Parents in India give a bat to their child and want them to become another Sachin Tendulkar. What made you choose Karate?

I always had a passion for learning Martial Arts.I had a chance to watch a State Level Karate championship when I was 13 and that’s where the interest arose in me.  

Can you share your life with us as in what challenges you faced and how did they change your perception towards life?

I had to face a lot of problems due to the financial situation in my family when I had just started with Karate. I must thank my parents for making me realize my dream despite all odds. Going through all hardships and knowing hard work & dedication as the only way to succeed changed my perception towards life.

Saleem Javed - Representing India

It is always an honor to represent India in any sport. How did you feel when you represented India for the first time?

No feeling can be greater than getting a chance to represent India.  Winning Gold at Dhaka,Bangladesh  was very special for me . I was absolutely elated when I got the news of my selection to represent India.

Today a lot of commercialization of sports has taken place in India and to be fair only lucrative sports such as Cricket, Hockey, Football are getting all the money and attention. Do you feel that Indian government is not doing enough to promote athletic sports such as Karate, Boxing, archery, taekwondo.

It has been a trend in India and it feels bad when few sports are sidelined .According to me every sport should be supported for the fact that  every sports person strives hard putting all his efforts irrespective of the sport he/she is playing.

Indian contingent for Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth games is big but we are not able to have a good medal tally. Where are we lagging? Do you feel a robust infrastructure would help the athletes a great deal?

I feel in India we give more importance to only academics. Right from the school a Child is told to become a Doctor, Engineer or Pilot . Government should improve infrastructure and also necessarily include sports as an important part of curriculum in schools in which they can educate and also create an awareness among youth of India.

How important is Karate in one’s life? How do you plan to spread awareness about it?

Karate is not only a sport but its also an art of self defense. I am happy to see karate being introduced in schools which is a good initiative . I strongly recommend that every woman should take up karate if not as a sport then at least as a safety tool as we see lot of atrocities happening against women, which is really unfortunate.

He loves cricket also (Indian by heart)

You have balanced your life pretty well be it at academic or sports. Please share with us your success mantra?

It was really important to strike a healthy balance between studies and sports.  It was never easy but when you have that passion to achieve something it will keep you going.

Injuries are very common to any sportsperson. How do you keep yourself fit and away from injuries?

Injuries are always there in every sports but when it comes to sports like Judo, Taekwondo, Boxing and Karate, it gets more intense. I have been the victim of many injuries throughout my journey but at same time, assured myself to stay fit and healthy, overcoming injuries at times.

How did it feel when you had that Gold Medal around your neck on a stage like the Asian Championship and then the National Anthem went live along with the ‘Tricolor’?

That moment when I got my Gold Medal around my neck I felt like I was dreaming . It was indeed a great feeling that I can never express in words. All I can say is I am Proud to be an Indian.

Saleem Javed with his trophies

Saleem should be a role model for most of us as we embark on a new journey together. Looking back at his life I could sense his motivation and dedication in both the fields. A winner of so many prestigious awards and the quality of being humble is what brings the best out of anyone. He has already lived a dream when he won the Gold medal in the Asian Games in Dhaka 2011. While a part of his job is done, there is still a long way for this child prodigy to go. We from the SMU COX School of Business, here in Dallas, Texas wish him all the very best in all his endeavors and we will always stand there when talents such as Saleem need us for anything.

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