Mubashir Aalam Wani
Srinagar, Dec 13 : Two young Mixed Martial Art (MMA) fighters from Kashmir have created history by bagging bronze medals in the IMMAF Asian Championship 2023, held in Bahrain.
Labeeb Feroz (16) and Zaid Shabir Bhat (16) both from Srinagar emerged victorious in their respective medal bouts against Won Gyu Park from South Korea and Humaid Al-Ali from UAE, respectively to grab bronze medals.
The duo soon after reaching Kashmir spoke exclusively with news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) about the experiences they gained by defeating experienced opponents in such a mega championship.
Labeeb said he has prepared for years together for the championship. “The experience was very good since it was for the first time that we participated in such a mega championship. We are happy that we were able to bag bronze in the championship,” he said.
Labeeb said the championship was very challenging for him as a MMA fighter. “It was a very challenging fight for me to defeat Won Gyu Park of South Korea in the ring. I have 8-9 years in MMA and have been practising hard for the last four years for the championship,” he said.
Labeeb said he is now eyeing for a gold medal in the Youth World Championship ahead.
Another victorious MMA Fighter Zaid Shabir Bhat said the rigorous hard work for this championship helped him defeat a stalwart in the game.
“The experience was tough for me as I had to undergo special dieting for two months. I was training twice a day. By the grace of God, I defeated UAE’s Humaid Al-Ali in his own game,” he said.
While Bhat said he is preparing for mega championships ahead, he added that he is ready to gain more amateur experience in MMA.
“I am preparing for the Youth World Champion and will simultaneously gain more amateur experience in the game,” he said.
Bhat said MMA is emerging as one of the best sports in Kashmir with many youth coming forward to make a career in this sport.
“This game has a good future in Kashmir. Every year many youths come forward to make a career in this sport, which is a good indication that MMA is going to flourish in Kashmir in coming years,” he said.
Meanwhile, President of MMA J&K Naseem Ahmad Chaya extends heartfelt congratulations to Labeeb and Zaid for their exceptional achievements on the international stage—(KNO)