24th April 2016. Jinnah Stadium, Islamabad.
I had never seen so many Pakistani flags walking around in a stadium before. This was the field where dreams came to live and die, where training and talent met the tartan track.
I had been following a group of kids with my camera for twenty one months. The Quaid-e-Azam games at Jinnah Stadium in Islamabad was supposedly my last shoot. The documentary I had been working on was a private pet project. Over the year it had taken a life of its own to consume everything around me.
We had turned out in force to watch our kids run in Islamabad. But I was also looking for inspiration to wrap up my year long search for the perfect close for my documentary series. I was reasonably sure where I was going to find it.
It is a story that I had been dying to tell all of my life. What is the charm of athletics?
Why did I fall in love with it twenty nine years ago? What makes these kids run? Where do they come from? How do they handle the heart break of lost races and the stress of training? What makes them come back for more punishment, day after day? How can they show the world what running really means to them?
Abdul Mueed is the perfect poster child for this tale. A footballer from Dalmia who hung up his cleats to run track for the first time in February 2015. He has come a long way from dusty football fields with his dreams. As he tells his story, sit down and take note. You first saw him here. God willing you will inshahallah see a lot more of him in coming years.
Watch the YouTube video in HD on a full screen with your head phone on. Or stream directly to your 60 inch LED TV. If you don’t have a 60 inch screen, join us at the Nestio this Sunday for a private pre-screening.
Mueed’s biggest contribution is not his medals or his championship title. It’s the fact that he is become an inspiration for athletes, kids, adults and coaches across Pakistan. It doesn’t matter if you are a teenager or a 50 year old. Once you see Mueed run, you want to give it a shot yourself. Trust me, both me and my aching knees know.
But you can’t tell Mueed’s story without introducing his coaches and their commitment to his future. Roma Altaf, Ahmed Wali and Abdullah Chandio at Sindh Track and Field have shown what it takes to make a track star out of a young teenage kid. It takes commitment, love and a great deal of personal sacrifice to make dreams come true.
Mueed’s training partners and the competition he runs with and against have defined him. Ask them about Mueed and they will tell you why as an athlete he is likely to go far? Why he takes competing to the next level and why it is a joy to see him run and celebrate in his own way after his wins.
But athletics and heart break go side by side. And brutal training too. Mueed has matured from an outgoing footballer to a more private person. He has a strong presence, remembers where he comes from and still loves to show off his dancing moves. But the challenges that come with winning, with not being able to take people at face value have changed him. For the better.
Mueed has won three national titles in the last 12 months. Keep an eye out for more. If you are interested in helping him and kids like him make it to the Asian games in 2018, drop us a line at jawwad at the rate financetrainingcourse dot com.
One last request. Be blunt, frank and honest with your feedback. I know I should say more but sleep and sanity beckons. This is still a very rough cut. There are still bits and pieces that I have missed and I will carry on working on them once I have caught up with my sleep. It’s still a long way off from being a film by Jawwad Ahmed Farid, but we will take what we have right now.
And don’t forget to share the love. Let’s get it out in front of as many screens as possible. (Also see – A year’s worth of shoes – for a follow up on the event post the documentary release.)