A Pelican Park teen will represent South Africa in the IMMAF World Championships in Abu Dhabi for the second time and is hoping to bring home some gold next month.
The tournament, attended by athletes from more than 30 countries, is a highly anticipated competition where the top MMA fighters battle it out in different age and weight categories.
Toufeeq Khan, 15, from TopGym GFT in Grassy Park, competed in the provincial and national championships and won a gold medal in his category to qualify for the international competition after he finished 8th in the tournament last year.
Toufeeq’s dream is to one day become a professional MMA fighter and he’s well on his way to achieving it if he keeps it up and said taking part in the competition last year has given him the experience he needed to hopefully end up on the podium this year.
Soft-spoken Toufeeq started MMA when he was about 8 years old to boost his confidence and deal with bullying he had experienced, said his mother Muneebah Khan.
“He started with karate but soon moved on to MMA and he loved it and has been doing it ever since. He started because he was bullied because he was very quiet and other children used to pick on him but since he’s been doing MMA it has massively improved his confidence and is outspoken, not afraid to take on challenges and as a mother I feel much better knowing my child can go out there and fend for himself because of the difference MMA has made in his life.”
Ms Khan believes her son will become a world champion. “I believe he can do it and I support him 100%.”
Toufeeq trains six times a week but said it’s worth the sacrifice to make his dream of becoming a professional MMA fighter a reality.
“I am honoured and privileged to represent my country for the second time and my goal for this competition is to come home a world champion. The competition is very hard but I am going to try my best.”
Although Toufeeq will be representing South Africa for the second time, the family don’t have any formal sponsorship they have been trying to raise between R50 000 and R60 000 to cover all the expenses and have started a Gogetfunding crowdfunding webpage to assist them..
The family will also host a Dubai bling high tea ladies night on Saturday July 8 at Pelican Primary School Hall from 5pm and tickets cost R150. For more information contact Muneebah on 076 018 0988 or to donate visit gogetfunding.com/make-toufeeq-khans-dream/