Meet Badshah Khan, first professional wrestler from J&K who is all set to participate in WWE
Badshah Khan is training hard these days as he prepares for the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) tryouts scheduled to be held this year in India. He is Jammu and Kashmir’s first professional wrestler.
The 25-year-old was born Arif Saleem Bohru, and earned the title Badshah Khan from Indian wrestling giant, the Great Khali, who is also his trainer. A resident of Neel village in Jammu’s Ramban district, he is being trained at the Khali’s Wrestling academy in Jalandhar.
Talking to YourStory Weekender, Badshah says he has been interested in wrestling since he was a child, but the lack of scope and infrastructure forced him to go outside Jammu and Kashmir.
“I never wanted to be away from home, but the lack of infrastructure compelled me to go outside Jammu and Kashmir for my training. I meet my family only once or twice a year, for a week at most. I am dedicated to fulfilling my dream, and I am hopeful that I will achieve it and make everyone jubilant and proud one day,” he adds.
He aims to make Jammu and Kashmir proud and be counted among the top WWE professional wrestlers in the world. His height is 6 feet 2 inches, his chest measures 49 inches, biceps 18 inches, and he weighs 107 kg.
Badshah belongs to a middle-class family.
His father, Mohammed Saleem Bohru is a sub-inspector in the CRPF, his mother Jana Begum is a homemaker, and he has two younger siblings.
“I studied till Class 12 and worked as a labourer because of our financial conditions. But today, I am among the top five pro-wrestlers of this country,” he says.
Since 2018, Badshah has been training every day under Khali's guidance from dawn to dusk and invests extra hours of in-ring practice.
“Besides Khali, coaches from the US and Canada would also come and train us. Some top wrestlers like Chris Masters, Brodie Steele, Jinder Mahal, and others have also coached me. So far, I have fought around 400 fights in Continental Wrestling Entertainment (CWE),” he adds.
After winning the Tag Team Championship twice, his success rate in more than 100 matches is 85 percent. Badshah has done shows across India and Nepal, and is counted among the top professional wrestlers of India.
“During all these years, I have been preparing hard for the WWE tryouts scheduled for June-July 2021. I am hopeful of getting selected. So far, seven male professional wrestlers and two females from the CWE have made it to the WWE,” says the wrestler, who has 120,000 followers on Instagram.
According to Badshah, he has received overwhelming support from his parents in his line of work. “I was convinced about wrestling while watching it on TV when I was in primary school. My parents have helped me to achieve my dream. It was my passion and dedication, and the support of my parents that helped me become a professional wrestler.”
Describing his village, he says, “Neel is a backward mountainous area, some 35 kilometres from Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. There are no roads in our hamlet and we hardly see water or electricity. People struggle a lot to make their ends meet and mostly do farming.”
Saying that a balanced diet is very important for sound health and a strong physique, Badshah shares that he eats only non-spicy food, good amounts of protein, boiled chicken, eggs, soups, and fruit.
He avoids any kind of greasy foods and sweets because “they cause the most adverse effects on the body”.
Badshah believes that in order to achieve one’s goals, one has to face a lot of difficulties and should show diligence.
“In order to achieve your goals, you should work hard, give 100 percent and avoid cheating. Then no one can stop you from achieving goals,” he adds.
Talking about the scene of wrestling in Jammu and Kashmir, he explains that there is no one to promote wrestling here.
“Wrestling is an expensive sport as we have to look after our bodies and spend a lot on diet and training. There is no facility and infrastructure in our state for the promotion of wrestling. The government has been spending a lot of money on cricket and other sports but wrestling has been ignored as if this game does not exist anywhere,” he concludes.