Meet 55-year-old Ibrar Hussain, who won four national cycling championships and is forced to run a tyre puncture shop to feed his family. He has established the shop at a roadside near Hameed Chowk in D-Ground of Peoples Colony which is considered as one of the posh localities of Faisalabad.
While speaking to the reporter, Ibrar Hussain said, “I belong to a poor family and live in a one-room house. Since my childhood, I am engaged in hard labour to eke out a living for my parents and kids.”
He added, “I am fond of cycling and bought a cycle from a scrap house to take part in the first cycling race of my life that I won. I was not able to buy a new cycle due to financial constraints. Therefore, I cleaned cars and motorcycles for a few months and managed to save enough money to buy the cycle.”
Ibrar recalled that in 1999, national cycling race was held from Peshawar to Wah Cantt under the aegis of Pakistan Cycling Federation. “It was for the first time when I participated in the national race at regional level.” He said 60 cyclists took part in the race, including four from Faisalabad.
“I clinched the title of the national cyclist by covering the distance in two hours breaking the earlier record of 2 hours and 30 minutes. I was awarded a certificate and Rs25,000 for my accomplishment,” he maintained.
“On August 14, 2006, I took part in another national race. This time, the race was organised by National Cycling Council in Peshawar in which 11 teams across the country participated and I stood first,” he said with a smile on his face.
The former champion pointed out that he won the national cycle championship four times and was offered a job as a coach in the physical department of the then Government College, Faisalabad in 1999. “My monthly salary was fixed at Rs2,500 and I served the post for more than 10 years. However, my salary was not increased despite various requests. Consequently, I had to quit the job and established the cycle puncture shop,” Ibrar Hussain lamented.
He told that he manages to earn Rs500 to Rs600 daily and his wife also assists him in his work providing a helping hand to him. “I cycle for two hours daily to keep myself fit. If the government had provided a fair opportunity earlier, I could have won a title at international level for my country,” he remarked.
Regarding his income, Ibrar said the trend of cycling has declined during the last three decades that has affected his daily earnings. “I am worried about my only 18-year-old daughter and could not provide her better education and living facilities. She has reached the age of marriage but I do not have enough resources to arrange dowry for her marriage,” he said with tears in his eyes.
He urged the government to support talented poor people and assist them financially to promote sports activities in the country. “It will help in preventing youth from indulging in crime and other unhealthy activities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ibrar’s daughter Komal said, “The government should provide a job to my father in recognition of his services and talent so that he could support our poor family.”