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Olympian Muhammad Ashiq

Muhammad Ashiq (born 17 March 1935) is a former Pakistani cyclist. He started his career as a boxer. However after a fight, where he received many injuries, his wife asked him to switch so he switched his career to cycling because she was worried about his injuries. He battled in Rome in 1960 and Tokyo in 1964 and despite the fact that he won no medals, he was called as a national hero for Pakistan. A track sprinter, Muhammad Ashiq competed in cycling for Pakistan at both the 1960 and 1964 Olympics. He won a silver and bronze medal at the 1958 and 1962 Asian Games. During his cycling career he rode for his employer, Pakistan Railways.

He was later released by Pakistan Railways and tried to get a job as a trainer, without success. Ashiq bought a bus and hired a driver to run a route for him but after the bus crashed, he lost it, and eventually his home.  Since then he struggled a lot and for the last six years has been driving a rickshaw, carrying low-income customers around Lahore’s choked streets. He lives in a 450-square-foot house on which he have a loan from more than Rs1 million, a near-insurmountable amount given his rickshaw salary of roughly 400 rupees per day.

His wife has passed away, and his four children no longer live with him, he says, and he does not want to depend on them. He used to hang his medals in his rickshaw, but not anymore. Instead, the cover is emblazoned on the famous quote by former US President Calvin Coolidge:

 “Nations and states who forget their heroes can never be prosperous.”

He said in an interview with the Tribune on August 3rd, 2016

“Once my wife started weeping. I asked her why… She said she was just worried about my health. “She told me to be happy all the time and forget those who forgot us. I said OK, and she became happy for a while. “And after some period, she died.”  He says, his hands shaking, he too prays for death. “I pray… to meet my beloved wife in heaven. I think it is better to avoid this pathetic situation I have endured,” he says.

After his interview he was hired by Netsol as their Sports ambassador for the firm.

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