Mahoor Shahzad, 24, is the National Badminton champion of Pakistan and is the first female player from Pakistan to reach under 150 in the Badminton World Federation rankings.
She is also the first woman badminton player who will represent Pakistan in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Shahzad visits the Creek Club in Karachi for her extensive training from a couple of badminton coaches. She begins by going back in time to discuss her journey so far which started at a very young age. At only 11 years of age, she started to play badminton, but initially, it was just on the streets.
She explained, “When I was 12 years old my father Mohammad Shahzad, who is an athlete and an indoor rowing champion himself got a membership of the Sunset Club. In the morning he used to give me training sessions there and in the evening Imran Uncle, Iftikhar or Ali Mehdi were my coaches there. ,” she said.
She became the U-19 National Badminton Champion in 2009 when she was 13 and, Women National champion at 19. Shahzad got her early education from the D.A Public School and graduated from IBA University in 2018.
“It was a common sight to see me busy in my studies during tours. But I didn’t want to fall behind in either my game or my education,” Shahzad says.
“Mahoor has been a very quick learner compared to other players I have been training,” said Syed Imran Ali, 46, who himself has represented Pakistan in badminton at the International level.
“She is not someone who will give up easily. She comes to train from Monday to Saturday, for about six to seven hours daily.”
Ali has been coaching Shahzad for almost 18 years. Talking about Mahoor’s diet he said, “Her daily diet includes fresh apple juice with boiled eggs and nuts as well. She also consumes CAC-1000 and lemonade after the matches.” Her dedication to training has paid off as she has done well at the international level, too.
She claimed the bronze medal in the Bulgarian International Championships 2019, International Badminton series 2019 claiming gold medal where she clinched a 21-15, 16-21 and 21-16 victory over Iran’s Soraya Aghaei.
Shahzad is now eyeing a position in the top 50 Badminton World Federation rankings. She said.“I am pretty much concerned about the lack of proper badminton academies and international coaches. As a result, we are very behind in terms of skills and practices around the world,”
“My message for upcoming female badminton players is that they should be regular with the training. Work hard and more importantly practice a lot, there will surely be opportunities in the future for such players.”