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29 January 2020

Who is Hussain Shah?

Hussain Shah came from a life of abject poverty; he was a homeless child sleeping on a footpath in Lyari. His dedication and love for boxing led him to Olympic glory in the ultimate story of a man overcoming his circumstances. He became the only Pakistani in history and the first South Asian to win a bronze medal in Olympics boxing at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

His rise in the boxing world began when he was selected to represent Pakistan in the 1st South Asian Federation games in 1984. Hussain won the first of his 5 consecutive boxing gold medals at the SAF games.  His victory at the 13th Asian boxing championship held in Kuwait in 1987 established him as the top middleweight boxer in Asia, and one of the best in the world.  Hussain’s life-changing moment came in 1988 at the Seoul Olympics. Martín Amarillas of Mexico, Musungay "Serge" Kabongo of Congo and Zoltán Füzesy of Hungary were all defeated by Hussain.

The semi-final bout did not see him take the gold that he had hoped for, but it helped put boxing on the map in Pakistan and put up the country as a contender on the world stage. His bronze medal and welterweight wrestler Mohammad Bashir’s bronze at Rome 1960 to date remain the only individual medals Pakistan has won at the Olympics. In 1989, he was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, the third highest honour and civilian award in the state of Pakistan. It recognizes individuals who have made an "especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of Pakistan, world peace, cultural or other significant public endeavors."  He also went on to win the President's Cup Boxing Tournament held in Jakarta in 1996 and the Avian Boxing Championships in 1997. Hussain