Irfan Mehsood

Muhammad Ifran Mehsood has made the Guinnes World Record of most full-contact knee strikes in one minute with one leg. He successfully managed to get 87 strikes compared to Ahmad Amin Bodla’s 79 which was the world record before.

The Guinness World Records approved of Mehsood’s record on Thursday.

The 26-year-old from Tehsil Ladha in Waziristan arranged for the record attempt in July in Dera Ismail (DI) Khan this year and had to wait for the record governing body to approve of his feat.

“Of course I’m very happy that my record got approved, but I have made attempts at other records too,” Mehsood told The Express Tribune on phone. “I have six other attempts that need to be approved from Guinness World Records. I’m expecting their reply by October 13.”

Mehsood added that he trained hard before attempting to break the record. He recalled that it was during the month of Ramadan and he was just focused on his training despite fasting.

‘Not just a record-obsession’

The youngster has been pursuing his passion for martial arts since his teenage years and began training in 2005 “right after his matriculation”.

But he turned his passion into a purpose after his family was internally displaced due to the Waziristan operation in 2009. He moved to DI Khan with his family among others.

Mehsood hopes to be the representative of a generation that wants to change the perception of his people and also of Pakistan.

“It is very important for me,” said the current M.Phil student at Gomal University and the martial artist. “It was really hard. I have my academy now in Dera Ismail Khan, this is where most of the people from Waziristan settled after the operation.”

He added: “I can say that I’m motivated because I want to show a softer, better image of Pakistan and the people of Waziristan; we are not terrorists and we want to get ahead in life since we are good at studies just as we are great at sports.”

Mehsood said that the youngsters in Waziristan and even in Dera Ismail Khan are also passionate about martial arts and they want to make their name in the sport, however, lack of government’s support, facilities and the general apathy of the authorities is one of the biggest challenges martial artists have to face in Pakistan.

“We can’t go back to Waziristan still, like my hometown is still shut,” he said. “There is no support from the government whatsoever. But we try; I really want the youth of my region to direct themselves toward sports instead of other things. Sports can prevent the youth from going into other activities. We’ll continue the hard work here,” added Mehsood.

When asked about his inspiration, he named Ahmad Hussain, a veteran who also held the world record of most kicks in a minute (190) in 2011.

“I contacted Hussain [before preparing for the record], because when I was starting out, back in 2010, I saw these videos and I wanted to know more about the records,” said Mehsood. “He inspired me really. I thought it was a great way of making a mark and send out a message to the world.”

Mehsood is one of the top martial artists in the country having most (12) records mentioned in the Pakistan Book of Records. He has the records for most air punches in 20 seconds holding one-kg weight and most punches in 10 seconds already to his name, while his pending attempt’s include thumb push-ups, knuckle push-ups, one hand punches and full-contact punches with one-kg weights.

He is hoping to hear from the Guinness World Records soon for the approval of his other records after he was announced to be ‘Officially Awesome’ by the governing body.

“We are thrilled to inform you that your application for most full-contact knee strikes in one minute (one leg) has been successful and you are now the Guinness World Records Title Holder!” the email from Records Management Team read.

“You will shortly receive one Guinness World Records certificate in the post. Congratulations, you are Officially Amazing!” the mail further read.