Mohammad Taqi Tofan, a high school junior and a successful free fighter, was born in 1995. He started doing martial arts at the age of 12 at the same time he and his family returned to Afghanistan from Iran. He faced many obstacles and never gave up on martial arts. Within the past years, he has participated in many competitions inside Afghanistan. He is now a proud member of the Afghanistan Boxing Federation. “I started doing martial arts and different sports with the intention to stay healthy. With the deep interest I had for sports, martial arts became my passion. My family was always supportive of me and they have always been there for me. Perhaps, they were the only ones to motivate me to stand up against the pitfalls and setbacks,” he said.
In a community where poverty prevents people from accomplishing great things, Mohammad Taqi managed to overcome the challenges he faced. “At the peak of my family’s poverty, I never gave up doing martial arts. I showed up on a daily basis to the club where we do martial arts,” he said. In November, Mohammad Taqi and his teammates became aware of International Tournament Open Cup. Taqi and two of his teammates registered for the competition. Taqi and his teammates practiced intently to win the competition. Every morning and evening they met in their club for more practice. On December 15 of this year they had a flight to Iran for the competition. On December 20, 2015, Mohammad Taqi Tofan won the bronze medal of the International Tournament Open Cup held in Tehran, Iran by defeating his Iranian rival. The countries that participated in this competition were Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Armenia. The referee from Afghanistan was Mr. Ali Ahmad Afshar who is also their trainer. There were 20 participants from Afghanistan. Taqi’s teammates won gold and silver medals and Afghanistan earned second place in this international tournament. In the next two months, Taqi will participate in another competition in Mashhad, Iran.
For Mohammad Taqi, martial arts hold a great value. He has participated in many competitions and has won different prizes. He believes that sports can benefit most Afghan youth by giving them an outlet and escape from daily problems. He started sporting when he was very young and credits sports for keeping him motivated and focused. Today he is very active in his community because of sports and he encourages everyone to take part in sports, and practice physical activities like walking in the morning, riding bicycles and hiking. “I hope one day most of Afghans participate in different fields of sports and martial arts. I do my best to teach children and youth some martial arts,” Taqi said.