Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Arbash’s way to gold: Pakistani clinches World Muay Thai Championship

KARACHI: After failing seven times at the World Muay Thai Championship, Pakistan’s Arbash Khan was finally able to taste the sweetness of success as he beat Thai champion Kim Nom in the final of the professional 45-kg event.

Arbash’s performance was convincing enough for the eight judges who announced a unanimous decision in his favour after he won all the five rounds.

The 20-year-old, who had previously taken part in the amateur category, was pleased with the win, which he now feels can inspire other fighters in the country.

“First place is what counts,” Arbash told The Express Tribune. “Those seven years of struggle are worth this moment. Winning the world championship gold medal had been my aim.”

Last year Arbash came tantalisingly close to winning the World Open in Bangkok but lost to an Indian opponent in the final.

The fighter again won a silver medal at the World Eight Open and finished third at the World Championship’s pro-amateur category in 2011.

However, he was not to be denied this time around and the passionate fighter was happy that his training in Karachi and Thailand had paid off.

“I love the sport because it’s the best way to channel one’s aggression. It’s a discipline. I hope that my medal can attract more people and promote this sport since there’s a lot of money involved in it as well.

“Last year I won a local championship in Thailand and earned 50,000 bahts.

International kick-boxers make good money and this is a career that can be pursued.”

While Arbash is the lone Pakistani at most international muay events, the fighter said that a few sponsorships can go a long way in promoting the sport.

“We need to put in some money because the Pakistan Muay Thai federation doesn’t have enough funds to send players [international events] on a regular basis.”

Arbash’s next assignment is also in Thailand where the young fighter will take part in the World Open in October.