With the progression of time, many learnings and concepts that were valued and adhered to in the earlier times have died. In this fast-paced world, people who work smarter and more appreciated than those who work hard. The speed with which the world has evolved has left behind the golden concepts of honesty, hard work, dedication, passion, and perseverance. Today, people lack the spirit of following their goals and dreams and settle for something they do not like. With each passing day, the number of people striving hard for their dreams decreases, and this merely because of the lack of dedication and hard work. The past is full of inspirational stories that motivate a young soul not to lose hope at such an early stage and never stop working for passion, come what may. Among the many stories is Muhammad Tariq Khan’s story.
“Anything That Gets Your Blood Racing Is Probably Worth Doing” – Hunter S Thompson
Being true to the quote Muhammad Tariq Khan passionately followed his dream to play badminton and is a notable Pakistani sports personality today. Due to his persistence and dedication, he has been recognized by many reputable national sports institutes and platforms for his valuable contribution to badminton.
Muhammad Tariq Khan had a very different and eventful childhood. As a child, he witnessed how gruesome and cruel people and life can be. He was a child born in the subcontinent and experienced the horrific and historical partition and independence of the two states India and Pakistan.
The badminton champion opened his eyes in Bharatpur, in India, on the 14th of August, 1942. Muhammad Tariq Khan spent his first five years in this Rajasthani city and has vivid memories of him playing through the narrow alleyways with his friends. It was in 1947 that unforeseen chaos had been called upon with the announcement of partition.
The partition of India and Pakistan was a historical and victorious moment for the Muslim majority in India, who have now gotten an entire country to practice, and preach their religion without hesitation and restriction. Muhammad Tariq Khan, along with his father, Mr. Abdul Hameed Khan, and his mother, Mrs. Akhtari Begum, and seven siblings parted ways their loved city and headed towards a new life awaited them in the new state.
With great difficulties and tiresome traveling, the family reached Karachi first and later moved to Rohri, a city in Sindh. The family took their time to settle into the new environment. Soon, Tariq and his siblings were admitted to schools to resume their studies. At school, Tariq developed an interest in playing badminton. At first, he took it as a hobby, but with the passage of time and his parents’ support, he began practicing it regularly. Initially, he practiced badminton by hitting the shuttlecock against the walls of his home. Seeing his increasing passion and love for the sport, his family bought him a net, a few wooden rackets, and a pack of shuttles to practice at home.
Badminton, His First Love
Tariq’s consistent practice and quick learning ability made him an ‘Under 12 Pakistan Champion’ within the first year of playing. As the family had recently migrated, they had to struggle a lot to stabilize themselves. Tariq’s parents worked day in and day out to provide their children the best they could. As a growing kid, Tariq was compassionate and admired his parent’s efforts, so he did not want to burden them with his expenses.
His passion was enough to keep him going. Tariq practiced badminton without a coach. Mr. Masood Khan and Mr. Irshad Ahmed, former Pakistani Badminton Champions, were his inspirations. He often visited the badminton courts only to watch these legends practice and perfect their craft. Tariq picked up a lot of techniques of the game just by watching it.
The self-trained player often played with the Khairpur Division Team. Tariq had perfected his craft so much that he openly challenged the senior players for a friendly match and faced their ferocious attacks with a warm smile.
Although badminton took up most of his time, Tariq never stepped back from his studies. He continued his studies, graduated from Sindh University in 1964, and obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree.
The journey of badminton had just begun for this talented boy. In 1964, he was awarded by the Farhat Nishan Club Rohri for ‘Holding Double Grounds.’ In 1965 he was titled ‘Winner’ for a tournament organized by the Islamia College of Sukkur. In the same year, he was given an award for being a runner-up by the Hyderabad Division Badminton Association. Mohammad Tariq was attached with sport for forty years and achieved many titles in this era. He was a national badminton champion for 10 years.
It’s A Family Thing
The love for sports ran in the family. It was not only Tariq who was inclined with badminton, but his brothers were too. Mr. Shakir Abdullah, and Mr. Gulam Abdul Qadir Jillani, both played the sport exceptionally well. Combined practice sessions under Tariq Khan’s guidance made them skilled players too.
Tariq’s cousins, three cousin brothers, Khaliq-Ur-Rehman, Ateeq-Ur-Rehman, and Farooq-Uz-Zaman, were also great players. Badminton became the recognizing and uniting symbol of the family, and the brothers were known as the ‘Six Brothers’ in the entire province.
Restricted to Transform Dreams into Reality
Tariq Khan was ten when he first played badminton. At a very early age, he had decided what he would do in the future. The young player had a lot of potentials to build a strong career in this sport, but due to financial issues, he could not continue it further.
As a developing country, the chances of him earning by playing the sport were blurry and scarce. Opting for a safer and reliable option, Muhammad Tariq Khan joined Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in 1967.
Although now he had a full-time job and a family to look after, Tariq never deviated from his love for badminton. After the duty hours, he often went to KPT hall to play badminton and made it a regular practice.
His undying love for badminton became even more evident when he won the Pakistan Gym Khana Badminton Championship in 1979 and received a singles trophy.
Badminton was a huge deal at that time in Asia; Tariq’s company often organized matches and encouraged their employees to play. Tariq participated in all the games and won each time. In 1975, he was recognized for his exceptional playing skills in a tournament organized by PIACEU. Muhammed Tariq Khan was the first person to be sanctioned two extra increments by the PIAC Management in 1976. This was just another addition to his long list of achievements.
Today Tariq stands tall with all his achievements under his belt and serves as an inspirational figure for all those who have given up on their dreams or are not motivated enough to do so. He says, “At a young age, parents are a huge influence. My mother has always been supportive; luckily, my entire family has stood beside me through thick and thin. Life becomes so much easy when you have a supportive family. I owe my journey to them“
Why USL2 is the Coolest Soccer League in the USA
Soccer continues to grow in popularity in the USA. The most obvious signs of this are in the MLS (Major League Soccer), which has expanded to 28 teams, with two more franchises scheduled to join by 2023. New teams such as LAFC, Austin FC, and Charlotte FC, who broke the MLS attendance record in their first game, have been well received by their local communities. In addition, they have helped to raise the profile of the sport with some clever branding and community engagement.
The MLS has also picked up many new fans from abroad. The creation of fan groups, inspired by European “Ultras”, has resulted in a unique atmosphere. At first, this seemed manufactured, but it has taken on a life of its own. Many MLS teams are adopted by the local Hispanic communities, but they have also gained popularity amongst the LGBT communities, with rainbow pride flags now a regular feature in stadiums across the country.
However, it’s not just the Major League that has developed a cult following. In the lower leagues, there are some incredible soccer communities developing. The USL2 (United Soccer League Two) is a hotbed of cult teams, cool branding, and community spirit.
One such team is the Minneapolis City Soccer Club. The club is known as the Crows, and this is reflected in their logo, which was on a shortlist of five in a vote for the best crest in the league. Their Citizens support group are among the most loyal in the division and their groundbreaking soccer shirts are sought by collectors across the globe. The community-run club previously competed in the NPSL (National Premier Soccer League), winning the North Conference in 2018, 2019, and 2021. They stepped up to the USL2 in 2022.
A new look for West Virginia
Another new name to appear in 2021 was West Virginia United, which reached the conference playoffs. West Virginia has always lacked any major league sports teams but has a thriving college sports scene. It is also becoming a major destination for sports and casino gambling in the east of the country thanks to its five West Virginia online casinos, which offer online sports wagering. This growth in the gambling sector is expected to have a knock-on effect on the sports scene as more revenue is generated in the region. Like Minneapolis, West Virginia has also nailed their branding with a super cool logo that pays pay homage to the blue ridge mountains. The rebranding coincided with a kit deal with major sports brand Puma.
The ink has yet to dry but we are incredibly excited about this one! We have penned our new apparel partnership with @PUMA !! We couldn’t have imagined a better partner to display our badge and colors #WVUTD 🟢🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/MiBWqsvUVx
— West Virginia United (@wvutd) May 7, 2021
The team began life as West Virginia Chaos in 2003 before merging with the youth teams of Charleston FC and Fury Soccer Club to form West Virginia Alliance FC in 2018. They joined USL2 in 2019 and it is hoped that the latest change of name will be permanent as the club looks to provide a stable first-team environment in the fourth tier of the US soccer, as well as a development team in the USL Academy system.
Surprisingly, West Virginia United did not make the final shortlist for the best new crest in the USL2 poll. Nonetheless, they were up against some stiff competition, most notably, winners One Knoxville SC who made a brilliant video to show how their crest was designed.
Magic behind the crest! pic.twitter.com/7nnZNadUOF
— One Knoxville SC (@OneKnoxSC) August 19, 2021
Other teams featured in the vote were Louisiana-based Blue Goose SC, Ballard FC of Washington, and Vermont Green FC, but these teams are about more than just branding.
In the tier above (USL1), there are also some cult clubs including Forward Madison FC, the self-styled “world’s second favorite team.” They made an instant impact after launching in 2019 thanks to their smart social media work and colorful kit designs, but it is USL2 that is leading the way in the fast-growing world of cult community soccer clubs.
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