Tag Archive: Champion

29-year-old junior doctor declared MasterChef 2017 Champion

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“I’m from a big Pakistani family and we use food as a way of bringing everyone together.”

To be the MasterChef champion is fantastic and wonderful. Adjectives are not sufficient. This is most definitely the coolest thing that I’ve ever done in my life!Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed

Twenty-nine-year-old doctor, Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed, has become the MasterChef 2017 Champion, it was announced today, becoming the thirteenth amateur cook to claim the title.

Facing off competition from 63 other determined contestants, through seven gruelling weeks of culinary challenges and an exhilarating final cook-off, Saliha was awarded the MasterChef 2017 trophy by judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace.

On her win, Saliha says: “I feel amazing right now, I can’t actually believe that this is true. I’m so happy that my cheekbones are hurting and I’m probably going to have a paracetamol for smile-induced fatigue!

“I’m a scientist, I’m not an artist, and this is pure creativity. To be the MasterChef champion is fantastic and wonderful. Adjectives are not sufficient. This is most definitely the coolest thing that I’ve ever done in my life!”

The emotional judges congratulated Saliha her on her win.

John Torode says: “Saliha is a class act. She’s walked in here and taken her food culture apart and put it back together in a modern and very exciting way. She always does something a little bit extra - something which always surprises us.”

On her winning menu, he said: “Those dishes sparkled. They were clean, crisp, refined and beautiful.”

Gregg Wallace says: “It’s East meets West and it is stunningly good.”

Speaking about the final and Saliha’s journey, Gregg says: “What an incredible cook and an incredible person. Saliha’s flavours were always outstanding, but when she translated those flavours into modern presentation there was no stopping her. Her food is simply stunning - beautiful art on a plate.”

Saliha fought her way from 64 amateur cooks through to the final week and, along with the other outstanding finalists, Steve Kielty (40) and Giovanna Ryan (29), was pushed to show the judges the skills, creative flair and perseverance needed to succeed at the highest level in the fierce final challenges.

In a punishing final week, MasterChef fans have seen Saliha cook for the American Ambassador under one of Britain’s best chef’s, Paul Ainsworth; embark on a culinary adventure to South Africa and take on three exceptional challenges - firstly mentored by one of South Africa’s most celebrated Reuben Riffel, then under British-born Luke Dale Roberts at the world-renowned The Test Kitchen restaurant and finally cooking for leading figures in Cape Town’s cultural and food community; and in the penultimate programme, cook for The Chef’s Table, overseen by one of the country’s most creative chefs, the two-Michelin starred, Sat Baines.

The final task was to prepare a three-course meal for judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace. Saliha’s winning menu started with a Venison shami kebab with cashew and coriander green chutney, chana daal and a kachumbar salad - in memory of her grandmother’s house in Pakistan. Saliha’s main course was a Kashmiri style sous-vide duck breast, with crispy duck skin, freekeh wheatgrain, spiced with dried barberries, walnuts and coriander, a cherry chutney and a duck and cherry sauce. The final dish in Saliha’s menu was a Saffron rosewater and cardamom pannacotta, served with a deconstructed baklava (inspired by her childhood love of baklava), including candied pistachios, pistachio honeycomb, filo pastry shards and kumquats.

Saliha started cooking at a young age, influenced by her family, and also encouraged by her teacher. She explains: “I’m from a big Pakistani family and we use food as a way of bringing everyone together. I had very passionate grandmothers who cooked traditional Pakistani food and my mum is also an excellent cook. We love to feed people – it runs in our genes’’.

“I discovered my love for cooking in food technology lessons in year 7 at school. Then when I was 15, my Food Tech teacher entered me into the School Chef of the Year competition and I won it.”

On her reasons for entering MasterChef, Saliha says: “I’ve always seen food as a serious hobby but being a doctor means I don’t always have the time to fully engage in it. I entered the competition to challenge myself, and see what I was capable of.”

At the end of the competition, she looks back on her MasterChef experience: “Cooking for John and Gregg was a pleasure and a privilege and what I’ve taken from MasterChef has allowed me to take so much more confidence for the future.”

Saliha is a junior doctor, training to specialise in Gastroenterology. On balancing her job with her time on MasterChef, she explains: “I have a lot of support from my wonderful husband and family, who gave me the strength and encouragement to go through this incredible experience.

“I have great work colleagues, who swapped on-call shifts with me so I could attend the filming days. I feel like winning MasterChef was a team effort for us. It involved a lot of hard work and early starts - late nights cooking after 13-hour-long shifts, no holidays, no breaks, no sleep - but it was well worth it!”

Saliha talks about her personal influences in cooking: “My passions include Pakistani food, Kashmiri cuisine, Persian and middle-eastern food and Mughal cooking. Tarla Dalal, Nigella Lawson, Cyrus Todiwala, Sabrina Ghayour, Atul Kochar and Greg Malouf have been my inspiration over the years. My most treasured cookbook - Rani, A Legacy of Recipes and Fables, given to me by my granddad.”

On her future plans, Saliha says: “My dream is to continue working as a doctor – and also to combine it with my other passion – food.

“I’m specialising in Gastroenterology and to be able to help patients through medicine and my food knowledge would be incredible.

‘I’d love to write cookbooks in my own style, as well as healthy eating cookbooks. I’d hope to be able to help drive the country towards healthier meals - and work on national campaigns to tackle obesity, particularly in children.”

Saliha grew up in Ickenham, Middlesex, and now lives in Watford with her husband, Dr. Usman Ahmed, and their two-year-old son, Aashir Ahmed.

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What a ‘Champion’!

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BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition INTERIOR

BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition INTERIOR

BMW special M4 edition sprints form zero to 62mph in just 3.2 seconds

To celebrate the success of Marco Wittmann securing yet another DTM driver’s title at the season finale at the Hockenheimring, BMW M is launching the BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition.

The new edition model consists of top-class motor racing technology for drive and suspension as well as a specific design that mimics the DTM racing cars built by BMW Motorsport and delivers a power output of 500hp and a maximum torque of 600Nm.

This road-eater completes the sprint from zero to 62mph in just 3.8 seconds and has a top speed is limited to 190mph.

The 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds is achievable thanks to the innovative water injection technology featured in the straight six-cylinder power unit, previously seen on the BMW M4 GTS.

This innovative technology enables cooling of the combustion chambers, significantly raising the engine’s thermally-related performance limits by 16 per cent in power output compared to the production model.

Exclusively available in Alpine White, the design and shaping of the additional foiling is reminiscent of the look of DTM racing cars produced by BMW Motorsport.

BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

Various aerodynamics components finished in visible carbon also give the car that distinctive racing car look. These include the front splitter, the aero flicks positioned in front of the front wheel arches, exterior mirror caps, side-skirt attachments, and a rear diffuser as well as the large rear wing firmly mounted on the boot lid.

Inside the two-seater, both driver and co-driver sit in M Carbon bucket seats covered in exclusive Alcantara/Leather Merino. The entire interior is lined with exceptionally high-quality covering material Alcantara, also used on the M Sports steering wheel featuring a grey “12 o’clock” marker. Behind the front bucket seats of the BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition, a white rollover bar replaces the rear seat system.

In terms of comfort and safety, the new edition is by no means sparsely equipped. Features include the BMW Professional Navigation system, air conditioning, adaptive LED headlights with BMW Selective Beam (glare-free high beam assistant), OLED taillights, Park Distance Control (PDC) at the front and rear as well as automatically dimming interior and exterior mirrors.

In comparison to the production version of the BMW M4, the DTM Champion Edition impresses not only with enhanced performance, but also with further optimised dynamic handling qualities. This is also the result of even more consistent implementation of the lightweight construction concept.

BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

In addition to other components, the bonnet, roof, instrument panel support and rear diffuser are made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). The end silencer of the double-flow sports exhaust system featuring two pairs of tailpipes is made of exceptionally lightweight titanium.

Optimal contact with the road is ensured by Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 high-performance tyres size 265/35 R19 at the front and 285/30 R20 at the rear designed specifically for use on the racetrack and mounted on light alloys boasting a star spoke design 666 M in Orbit Grey matt.

M carbon-ceramic brakes guarantee fade-free braking even in tough racing conditions. The individually adjustable 3-way coil-over suspension is mechanically adjustable both for rebound and damping, thus allowing the car’s handling characteristics to be adapted according to personal taste.

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Schoolboy champion

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EUROPEAN DEBUT: Khalid Ayub fought for the first time in Croatia last week as an English representative in the Schoolboys European Boxing Championships

EUROPEAN DEBUT: Khalid Ayub fought for the first time in Croatia last week as an English representative in the Schoolboys European Boxing Championships

European debut for teen boxer

Boxing on the big stage is becoming somewhat of a regular occurrence for a local boxer from Batley who last week travelled to Croatia to compete in the Schoolboys European Boxing Championships.

Fourteen-year-old Khalid Ayub, who boxes out of the Warrior Breed gym, flew off to the Baltic state with his coaches for the biggest competition of his career to date.

In a performance streamed around Europe Ayub was unfortunate to lose out on his European debut but impressed his GB coaches and the local team alike.

Adam Bham, from Warrior Breed, said Ayub had a lot to be proud of following the close contest and was looking forward to seeing him continue to develop as a boxer.

“Throughout the fight, Khalid displayed maturity beyond his years,” Adam said. “He has acknowledged the set back and maintained that he is eager to return to the gym and continue to improve himself and win more titles.

“The England coaching team have been left with high expectations for the future with further bouts lined up against boxers from Scotland and Denmark later this season, Khalid continues his training and will shortly join the English training camps once again.”

The European Championships is known to be the ultimate test for GB's amateurs, with nearly all qualifiers being ranked ‘number one’ in their home countries.

The schoolboy division is hotly contested with representatives holding high hopes of reaching Olympic podium squads within four to eight years.

Khalid will be hoping to get back to winning ways when he returns to the ring with the national set up against opponent from Scotland and Denmark later this season.

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Battle of champions

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CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Kell Brook says he ‘can’t wait’ to step into the ring with Gennady Golovkin later this year

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: Kell Brook says he ‘can’t wait’ to step into the ring with Gennady Golovkin later this year

Brook and Golovkin to face off in Middleweight megafight

It is not the all-British encounter many fight fans have been holding out for, yet a Golovkin-Brook face-off has certainly got the boxing world shaking with anticipation for their September showdown.

For years, Kell Brook has been the rising name in the welterweight division and has threatened to cross paths with former world champ, Amir Khan, on countless occasions.

However, after being turned down, time and time again, the Sheffield boxer, known as ‘Special K’, has now landed himself the blockbuster fight of a lifetime as he goes toe-to-toe with the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer, Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin.

Brook (36-0) and his Kazakhstani opponent (35-0) are both unbeaten in their careers and are ranked top of their weight divisions respectively.

For the September bout, set to be staged at London’s O2 Arena, the Brit will have to move up two weight categories as the pair fight off as middleweights.

Speaking after announcing the fight, Brook said he was more than prepared for the contest and was ready to ‘run’ at the revered world champ.

POUND-FOR-POUND: Gennady Golovkin has been labelled the best boxer on the planet

POUND-FOR-POUND: Gennady Golovkin has been labelled the best boxer on the planet

“This is the fight and the moment I have been waiting for for some time,” he said.

“We've tried and tried to lure the best to come and fight me and now we've got the best of the best – the number one pound for pound fighter in the world is coming to the UK.

“When this fight got offered to me, I accepted within minutes and I can't wait. Everyone knows I'm a huge welterweight and I know I will carry my speed and accuracy and even more power through the weights.”

He added: “This is the ultimate fight, one of the biggest international fights the country has seen in many years - you have seen some huge names run from GGG but I'm running to him. I'm a ‘Special’ fighter and I will show the World on 10th September.”

FACE OFF: Brook and Golovkin go toe-to-toe in London’s O2 Arena on 10th September

FACE OFF: Brook and Golovkin go toe-to-toe in London’s O2 Arena on 10th September

After the official announcement was made, Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loffler, praised the Yorkshire boxer for stepping up the fight.

“We’re very excited to have Gennady fight for the first time in the UK,” declared Loffler.

“We have a great deal of respect for Kell Brook for stepping up and facing Gennady when so many have been reluctant to do so.”

Golovkin has won each of his 19 title defences by knockout in what has been a dominant run of results.

His last fight, against Dominic Wade, lasted little over one round.

Matchroom boss, Eddie Hearn, said: “I cannot tell you how excited I am for this mega fight.

“I've worked hard with Tom over the years to bring GGG to the UK and now we do it as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

“Right here you have the number one Welterweight in the world against the number one Middleweight in the world – 36-0 vs. 35-0, two of the best on the planet, it's what big time boxing is all about.

“I couldn't be happier for Kell. We have pushed for that big name for a long time with many reluctant to step into the ring with him and now this is the ultimate challenge, the biggest fight of 2016.”

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Champion of Champions

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CHAMPS IN THE CAPITAL: Students from Bradford College will be heading to London to compete in a competition which focuses on developing their employability skills

CHAMPS IN THE CAPITAL: Students from Bradford College will be heading to London to compete in a competition which focuses on developing their employability skills

Students head south to compete in national competition

Two teams of students from Bradford College will be doing more than just taking in the sights of Buckingham Palace and Big Ben when they head to the capital next month, as they compete to be crowned champions in a national employability competition.

The nationwide ‘Champion of Champions’, run by the National Skills Academy for Financial Services, is a competition that challenges teams of UK students, aged 16-25, to plan and run events at their college to help their peers develop their employability skills, whilst developing their own in the process.

The Bradford teams are two of eight finalists that have been shortlisted from across the UK and will face-off in London on Friday 24th June.

The panel of judges, who will select the winning team, includes Chief Executive Officer of the National Skills Academy for Financial Services, Peter Pledger.

Graham Bailey, Student Services Manager at Bradford College, said: “The news of our short-listing is fantastic. We strive to provide the best learning experiences to enhance our students’ skills.

“This competition was a great opportunity for our students to develop their employability skills with a practical challenge. We’re proud that two teams will have the chance to showcase their event at the competition final.”

Peter Pledger, CEO of the National Skills Academy for Financial Services said: “It was great to receive so many promising entries.

“I was impressed with the hard work and creativity that went into the employability events that students came up with. 

“The competition has not only encouraged students to put their employability skills into practice but also helped them think about how best to assist other students to get ready for the world of work.”

Building on the 2015 ‘Prepare for Work’ employability programme run by the National Skills Academy for Financial Services, the ‘Champion of Champions’ project was developed to help further education college students in the UK develop their employability skills and improve their chances of securing and maintaining employment.

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One man’s 50,000 ways of helping his community

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ROAD RUNNER: Nazim Ali has raised over £50k for charitable causes

ROAD RUNNER: Nazim Ali has raised over £50k for charitable causes

Charity champion reaches huge personal milestone

When Nazim Ali took his first step in the London Marathon 14 years ago, little did he know how much it would change his life.

The then 21-year-old had grown up watching people of all nationalities and backgrounds complete the annual 26-mile run, raising money for causes around the world.

After months of training, the Manningham man finally got to live out one of his dreams, as he crossed the finish line in the capital, raising £550 for the charity Whizz-Kidz.

Fast-forward to Sunday 13th March 2016, and the now 35-year-old has turned into a true charity champion with his latest efforts in the Bradford 10k event helping him pass the £50,000 fundraising target.

From runs to mountain climbing, Nazim has conquered dozens of challenges, and completed a number of humanitarian aid visits to the Turkey-Syria border.

Speaking of reaching his latest money milestone, he said:”I am grateful to everyone who has sponsored me over the years, without their donations and support I would not have been able to achieve so much.

“I am looking forward to the next challenge and raising as much money as possible to help those in need whether that is at the local, national or international arenas.”

Nazim works as a careers adviser for Year 11 and sixth form students in Bradford and has done so for the past eight years.

Balancing his charity exploits with work life has seen his annual leave inundated with fundraising efforts, yet it something he says he ‘wouldn’t change’.

“Often I get asked, what my motivation is,” he said. “For me it really is a passion.

“I have been able to do this because it is something I really love. Through both my professional and charity work I am lucky enough to be able to help people so I feel blessed.

“An important part of being a Muslim is helping your fellow citizen and community. It is something I take a lot of pride in and want to continue doing for a long time.”

As well as raising money for causes, Nazim also volunteers at the Bradford Curry Circle Project and is general secretary of the city’s Naqshbandia Active Development Association (NADA).

It is certainly a busy life for one man from Bradford.

“I have been blessed to be involved in so many projects over the past decade,” Nazim added.

“I have physically seen the impact this money makes, and it is a priceless experience. It might be small drop in the ocean but every drop counts.”

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Dubai delight for Wawrinka

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CHAMPION: Stan Wawrinka made it nine wins from his last nine finals on Saturday with victory in Dubai

CHAMPION: Stan Wawrinka made it nine wins from his last nine finals on Saturday with victory in Dubai

‘Crazy tiebreaker’ in memorable final

An exhausting 28-point tie breaker was needed to separate the two finalists in this year’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, with Stan Wawrinka eventually walking off centre court victorious.

The much sought-after Dubai STP title rarely disappoints and the clash between Swiss Wawrinka and Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus  will be remembered for its eventual score of 6-4, 7-6 (15-13).

It is the 30-year-old’s ninth successive victory in a final and his second title of the year after Chennai.

Despite only covering two sets, the match lasted almost two hours with a back-and-forth tiebreaker.

After leading 4-1 and seemingly on his way to a convincing win, Wawrinka was forced to save five set points before triumphing after a Baghdatis’ return went wide.

“Until six-all in the tiebreak, I was always up with a mini-break, Wawrinka said after the match. “[I think] I did two double faults and two or three quick mistakes.

“Then it started to be all about nerves, six-six, seven-seven, ten-ten. You try to stay there, try to play simple, aggressive. It was good to finish it in two sets.”

It is the first time in eight years that the 2015 French Open champion has played in the tournament.

He added: “It's an amazing end of week, for sure. It was a tough beginning, but I was always trying to fight, always trying to improve day by day even if I wasn't playing great at the beginning.

“I'm really happy to have another trophy. It's an amazing feeling, especially today as I was playing some really good tennis. It was a tough final.”

“This was my best match of the week, I'm happy with my level today. I had to fight until the end. It was a quite crazy tiebreaker.”

Meanwhile, Baghdatis is still looking for his first trophy since a 2010 title in Sydney.

With five successive losses in finals since then, the fellow 30-year-old said after his latest performance that he sees a ‘small light in the tunnel’.

“I'm happy I'm back and playing this kind of tennis now. It's just to continue improving, and play at this level throughout the year,” he said.

“I was a bit unlucky in the tiebreaker - that was the difference. But more matches throughout the year at this level would make me go in there and believe from the beginning that I can win, not wait three, four games and start believing.

"I'm playing very good tennis. This week I think I was a bit lucky, but I also found a way to win. I didn't win the tournament but I won a lot more.”

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Shayan serves up an ace at Muslim Awards

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TALENTED: Shayan Siraj is a double national champion in his age range

TALENTED: Shayan Siraj is a double national champion in his age range

Table tennis teen is top sportsmen for 2016

A sporty teenager from Leeds has added another trophy to his growing collection this past week, this time without even having to lift a bat.

At the British Muslim Awards 2016, Shayan Siraj, from Bramhope, was named the recipient of the ‘Best at Sport’ award, commending his growing reputation in the sporting world.

The 14-year-old was the youngest award winner on the night, and was selected ahead of boxers, a badminton player and footballer from the final shortlist.

Shayan’s father, Waseem, says his son was delighted to win the accolade and revelled in the experience the night.

AWARDED: The 14-year-old was named winner of the Best at Sport Award at the 2016 British Muslim Awards

AWARDED: The 14-year-old was named winner of the Best at Sport Award at the 2016 British Muslim Awards

“Shayan takes everything in his stride and never gets ahead of himself so when he was named winner, he was very mature about it all,” Waseem said.

“He wasn’t expecting to win the award but was delighted when they called out his name.”

shayan siraj table tennis (300x450)The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) pupil has been playing table tennis since the age of seven and began representing Yorkshire while still at junior school.

Aged 12, he made his debut representing England in an international competition and just last year, the young sportsman became a double national champion with Table Tennis England.

Already this season, with several months of competition still to come, Shayan has already helped the Yorkshire team retain the UK National County Table Tennis Championship for the third year running.

Waseem added: “The awards were quite enlightening and it was empowering to see so many people from the Muslim community, who had done some amazing work, getting the recognition they deserve.

“Shayan’s certainly got a lot more to offer and is targeting the 2020 Olympics. We know it’s a long road but he has the commitment and drive to make it.”

Now in its fourth year, the British Muslim Awards are presented by Al Rayan Bank to recognise a wide range of achievements in business, charity, sport, arts and culture, reflecting the breadth of contribution by British Muslims.

The shortlist of finalists was drawn up from thousands of nominations submitted by members of the public.

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Tyson Fury may hang up his gloves

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DREAM OVER: Fury is questioning whether to leave the pugilist sport following his victory over Vladimir Klitschko last year

DREAM OVER: Fury is questioning whether to leave the pugilist sport following his victory over Vladimir Klitschko last year

Boxer doesn’t want sport to become ‘about money’

World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is struggling to motivate himself and could quit boxing, the controversial fighter told BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday.

He said: “I could walk away. I could just sail into the sunset unbeaten with all the belts and live a normal life. All that I would be boxing for is money and I always thought to myself I never want to let sport become about money.”

The 27-year-old British boxer, who beat Vladimir Klitschko to claim the world heavyweight crown with a points win in Germany in November, may even hang up his gloves before facing the Ukrainian in a rematch scheduled for May or June.

Last year, Fury drew criticism for his offensive comments about women, homosexuality and abortion, but didn’t face punishment from the British Boxing Board of Control as there was no suggestion that he had broken the law by exercising his right to freedom of expression.

He continued: “I've accomplished a dream. It's about how much motivation I have to keep going on. There is life after boxing and I don't know what I'm going to do at the moment. I haven't even cemented I am going to fight in a rematch.”

Fury has claimed a sheikh in Dubai glamorously offered to host his world heavyweight title rematch with Wladimir Klitschko  on a yacht in a bout that could have been worth £82m.

According to the 27-year-old, the showdown would only be available to 120 audience members, each paying $1m for a ticket.

“There are five possible venues. I’m hoping it’s not going to go back to Germany. I’d rather go to Abu Dhabi or Qatar than there,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

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Super slimmer: Weight loss champion sheds the pounds after warning from docs

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SLIMMING: Amraze Khan has lost almost seven stone in just six months and was named local Man of the Year from his local Slimming World group

SLIMMING: Amraze Khan has lost almost seven stone in just six months and was named local Man of the Year from his local Slimming World group

After seeing his weight sky rocket to over 22 stone at the age of just 23, Halifax resident Amraze Khan was issued with the stark warning – ‘lose weight or lose a limb’.

With the threat of diabetes looming over him, the University of Huddersfield graduate took it upon himself to shed the pounds with help from his local Slimming World group.

Now, with an ever-shrinking waist line, the only thing growing for Amraze is his confidence.

“To date I have lost six stone and 12 pounds and feel better than I have in a long, long time,” he said.

“My mum said she can finally ‘put her arms around me’ and it has done so much for my self confidence that I walk with my head up.

“I sometimes still can’t believe this is the new me.”

Amraze’s six month weight loss saw him swap his XXXL wardrobe for a more slimline medium after signing up to his local Slimming World group.

Having previously tried other programmes, the super slimmer knew he had found the group for him after his first weigh-in.

“It was a friend who suggested Slimming World to me and I was actually hesitant at first because I have tried all sorts before but with no results,” he added.

“Eventually I decided to just give it a go and at my first meeting I weighed almost 23 stone.

“From then it just kept falling off and that really motivated me. In my first week I lost nine and a half pounds, followed by seven pounds, then six pounds, it just kept going.

“I have now lost almost seven stone in total and although I’m not quite where I want to be yet, I am on my way and enjoying it.”

Throughout his six weeks transformation, Amraza won the Slimmer of the Month award ten times and was most recently named his group’s Man of the Year for 2015.

Amraze will be launching his own Slimming World group on Thursday 31st December at the Pellon Baptist Church, Halifax. Classes will run every Thursday evening from 7.30pm thereafter.

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Mubz bagz the belt as ‘Nations Collide’

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CHAMP: Mubz Bajwa was victorious in his first professional fight for six years when he faced off against Thailand’s Singh Noi

CHAMP: Mubz Bajwa was victorious in his first professional fight for six years when he faced off against Thailand’s Singh Noi

Kickboxing ace returns as champion from international bout

After almost six years of sitting on the sidelines, renowned Thai boxer Mubz Bajwa returned to the ring last week, where he stamped his name on the international stage.

The 37-year-old has fought for national titles in the past, is a Red-Band qualified instructor and has over 20 years experience in the sport. It’s an illustrious career that has seen him conquering some of the best boxers in the biz.

However, his latest venture on Saturday 12th December put him in a challenging environment and new territory altogether when he travelled to Pakistan for his first overseas fight.

In the contest billed as ‘Nations Collide’, Mubz faced off against Singh Noi, from Thailand, for the K7 Redemption International Muay-Thai Championship.

Knocking out his opponent in the fourth round, the Brit was crowned champion in front of a packed audience, which included singers, models and sports people.

mubz in spotlight (273x450)“It was an amazing experience and something I would love to do again,” he said.

“The opponent I was up against was a very tough guy. He kicked like a horse and was always on the move.

“I knew by the fourth round that the only way I was going to win was by knocking him out so I planted my feet and launched a flurry of attacks.

“One of them caught him under the chin and he went down. From there I knew I had it.”

Mabz returned to the UK just a couple of days after the fight where he began his recovery from the exhausting trip.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Birmingham fighter who had to battle through sciatica throughout his training, which is a condition caused by the compression of a spinal nerve.

“I didn’t tell anybody about the condition beforehand because I didn’t want people to worry about the fight not going ahead,” he added.

“Thankfully I was able to compete and despite some ring rust, I got the win and the belt.”

Already back in the gym, Mubz says he has big plans for 2016, yet with a world record and world title to his name in the past 12 months, he has a lot to live up to next year.

 

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Beeston boxing teen becomes national champion

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CHAMP: Ismail Khan is the new NABGC 52kg champion

CHAMP: Ismail Khan is the new NABGC 52kg champion

Ismail Khan fights his way to the top

As British boxers continue to dominate sport headlines around the world this month, a local Leeds fighter has proven he is certainly ‘one to watch’ for the future after clinching a prestigious national title.

Bradford College Student, Ismail Khan, fought his way to victory in the National Association of Boys and Girls Clubs (NABGC) last week, triumphing in the 52kg category against the experienced James McDonagh.

Having qualified through the regional heats last month, the 18-year-old arrived at the national finals on Thursday 3rd December at Sir Phillip Game Centre in Croydon.

Both boxers made a cautious start to the contest, opting to fight on the back foot and waiting for their opponents to make a mistake and present an opening.

It was eventually Khan’s lightening hand speed and perfect timing which gave him the advantage over McDonagh, who had previously only suffered one defeat in his amateur career.

Landing some well-timed combinations in the second round, he kept out of reach of McDonagh’s jab, dominating the closing exchanges.

After a sweaty and sensational fight, Khan claimed a unanimous point’s decision and is now the proud holder of the NABGC 2015 title.

With the ABAs now in his sights, the future looks bright for the boxer from Beeston with this latest achievement put down to hard work and teamwork.

BOXING: Khan says he has the ABAs in his sights as he hopes to build up a reputation in the amateurs

BOXING: Khan says he has the ABAs in his sights as he hopes to build up a reputation in the amateurs

Speaking after his championship win, Ismail said: “I was really happy to win this title and I’ve worked extremely hard to get it this year.

“I knew this year was my year, since joining KBW. We have an excellent team and brilliant facilities and I have progressed really well since I moved.

“I’d like to give a big thank you to my father (and coach) Rash Khan, for putting the time in with me over the years and also my KBW coaches; Alan Haque, Tanny Hussain, Shammy Cheema and my old coach Keith Tate from Cleckheaton Boxing Academy.

“I would also like to thank all my team mates and friends, not forgetting my previous clubs, Burmantofts ABC and Hunslet Boys’ Club from Leeds, where I started my boxing journey as a child.”

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Ten years of Outreach: Awards night commends community champions

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WINNER: Mohammed Sharif was presented with the ‘Superman Award’ for his mountain climbing exploits, pictured here on top of the 3,482m high Mulhacén in Spain

WINNER: Mohammed Sharif was presented with the ‘Superman Award’ for his mountain climbing exploits, pictured here on top of the 3,482m high Mulhacén in Spain

People across Yorkshire and Lancashire have been celebrating the tenth anniversary of an inspirational education and outreach project based in the Yorkshire Dales with their first awards night.

‘The People and the DALES’ project is run by local charity, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT), and provides life-changing opportunities for disadvantaged people to experience the health and well-being benefits of spending time outdoors in the countryside

Since 2005, more than 7,600 people have enjoyed 587 events in the Yorkshire Dales countryside, including nature discovery walks, farm visits, conservation work and crafts.

An event was held at the Great Victoria hotel in the centre of Bradford to celebrate the landmark anniversary of People and the DALES and the achievements of the project so far.

Amongst the winners on the night was Mohammed Sharif from the Yorkshire and Humber Commissioning Support Unit of the NHS, who was presented the ‘Superman Award’.

TEAM: The People and the DALES award winners

TEAM: The People and the DALES award winners

The tireless trekker was chosen for his ‘super-human’ efforts scaling hills and mountains across the UK and in Europe, following his introduction to Ingleborough through People and the DALES.

Meanwhile, Kamran Yunis was handed the ‘New Communities’ award for his dedicated work, reaching out to a wide range of community groups across Bradford by sharing what he has learnt through People and the DALES to motivate and inspire others.

Dave Tayler, YDMT Deputy Director, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped us reach this fantastic milestone of ten amazing years of People and the DALES.

“At the celebration event we heard some emotional stories, shed a few tears and had a lot of laughs...it was an inspirational day spent with some great friends.

“We also looked ahead to the future and exciting plans to develop this work in new areas to help support many more disadvantaged people.”

The celebration was attended by many of the inspirational people that have helped make the project a success, and some of the people whose lives have been influenced by this work.

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National recognition for community champion

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Habiban Zaman has been working with diverse communities, women and young people in a voluntary and professional capacity for over 25 years in Kirklees

Habiban Zaman has been working with diverse communities, women and young people in a voluntary and professional capacity for over 25 years in Kirklees

Kirklees engagement officer heads to the capital for prestigious award

A tireless volunteer from Kirklees has become the first person in the region to be awarded a prestigious British Community Award following a glamorous ceremony at the House of Lords.

Mother-of-two, Habiban Zaman, from Batley Carr, headed down to the capital earlier this month to receive her award for her work regarding integration and cohesion in the community.

Currently working as an engagement officer for Kirklees Council, the 49-year-old has been working with different community and women’s groups voluntarily for over 25 years.

Establishing her own support groups and working with organisations across the region,

On Friday 9th October, she received her coveted British Community Honours Award from Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia and Serbia.

Speaking after the ‘exhausting day’ she said: “It was an amazing day which was made all the more special because it was inside the House of Lords.

“When I started volunteering I couldn’t have even imagined being in this kind of situation so it is a huge honour for myself and my family.

“Helping women and young people in these diverse communities has become a real passion of mine and it is more than just a job with the council. It is something I really enjoy doing.

“The whole day in London went so fast because it was so enjoyable and it meant a lot to me to have my family there for support.”

The British Community Honours Award is not the only title Habiban has received in recent years, with the community stalwart given the British Empire Medal during the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2014.

Having helped thousands of women across the region, she says awards like these only make her more determined to continue, even if they are not the reason she carries out the work she does.

“I started volunteering in the local community around 27 years ago and have always worked from my heart,” she said.

“Looking back on my career so far it is very pleasing to see how far we have come as a community since I began.

“Today, people from all backgrounds, from mosque leaders to individuals on the street, trust me because they know that I only want what is best for this community and its people.

“I think I have changed perceptions through my work and am determined to continue doing so. Perhaps that is what I am most proud of.”

The British Community Honours Awards are a registered charity working to improve the welfare and inclusion of minority communities in mainstream British society, recognising individuals contributions to the cause.

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Charity Champion: President’s award for inspirational Bradford mum

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WINNER: Nazma Choudhry was awarded the Charity Champion President’s Award from Muscular Dystrophy UK, pictured with her son, Mahid

WINNER: Nazma Choudhry was awarded the Charity Champion President’s Award from Muscular Dystrophy UK, pictured with her son, Mahid

A Bradford mother, whose son was diagnosed with an incurable muscle wasting disease seven years ago, was presented with a prestigious award last weekend for her committed support and awareness work.

Nazma Chowdhury, from Barkerend, was awarded the Charity Champion President’s Award from Muscular Dystrophy UK on Saturday 3rd October by ambassador Sue Barker.

After her son, Mahid – now 13, was diagnosed with Duchenne's in 2008, the determined volunteer was inspired to set up a support group for families affect by muscle wasting disease entitled Awaaz – meaning ‘Voice’.

Over the past year, more than 20 families from South Asian backgrounds have joined forces to support each other at five Awaaz family events in West Yorkshire, as the group continues to welcome new members.

Today more than 50 participants have attended the events aimed at providing advice and forging friendships with individuals and families.

Recent meetings have featured discussions on themes requested by the families involved including: getting the right wheelchair, support and days out at local hospices, and accessing disability sport.

Despite the group’s success, Nazma says she wasn’t expecting to win any kind of award and praised the efforts of other fundraisers.

“When I was contacted to say I was receiving the award I didn’t know why I had been chosen,” she said.

“There are people flying out of planes, trekking up mountains and doing all sorts of amazing things for charity, so I think they should all be recognised.

AWARD: Nazma was presented with her award last weekend by Muscular Dystrophy UK Ambassador, Sue Barker

AWARD: Nazma was presented with her award last weekend by Muscular Dystrophy UK Ambassador, Sue Barker

“The night itself was really good. I was able to meet and network with people from the charity and talk about Awaaz.”

With a new Awaaz group now set up in Coventry, Muscular Dystrophy UK plans to work with other families from diverse communities to replicate the groups’ success across the country.

Adding about the group, Nazma said: “I set up Awaaz with Anisa Kothia after being approached by Muscular Dystrophy UK and the Leeds General Infirmary.

“The intention was to help South Asian families gain a better understanding of all MD diseases whilst also offering support for those who may feel isolated or in need of help.

“We are just a small group at the moment but we welcome anybody who is affected by Muscular Dystrophy from any background.”

MDUK’s Neuromuscular Outreach Manager, Bobby Ancil, added his praise for the project.

“The Forum is going from strength to strength and we look forward to welcoming new families to the group at the event in Bradford next weekend,” he said.

“Through Awaaz we are ensuring that the charity reaches out to more families from diverse communities and we look forward to running similar events and groups across the country soon.”

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BIG THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES – CARL FRAMPTON

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carl frampton HD pic (620x438)

Carl Frampton is a super bantamweight boxer from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is 28 years old, 5ft 5inches in height and is currently the undefeated IBF world champion. Frampton boxing record consists of 20 impressive wins with 14 knockout victories and no loses.

Frampton has been in the ring with some very good fighters and beaten them all in a one sided contest and that includes the world’s top super bantamweights boxers like Gavin Reid, Raul Hirales, Steve Molitor, Kiko Martinez and Hugo Fidel Cazares (to name a few).

On Saturday night Frampton managed to retain his IBF bantamweight title with a fifth round stoppage of mandatory challenger Chris Avalos (25-2-0) in front the his home crowd in Belfast.

The Frampton and Avalos boxing bout was live on terrestrial television ITV who are making a boxing comeback of their own and who aired a boxing bout the first time in almost seven years.

The retired Belfast boxing legend Barry McGuigan who has guided Frampton career from the start believes Frampton is arguably the best super bantamweight in the world. He believes that Frampton would manage to beat the current elite fighters in the division and that includes British rival Scott Quigg (30-0-2 with 22KO), Leo Santa Cruz (29-0-1 with 17KO) and the man currently ranked one of the best in the in the world pound for pound Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0-0 with 10KO).

Quigg who was present at the Frampton and Avalos fight as a spectator believes that he will be able to fight Frampton later on this year and believes he has the tools to defeat him. The Quigg vs Frampton bout would be a British blockbuster in the UK and would be held in a football stadium due to the British rivalry between the two fighters.

Frampton said the following after the Avalos fight in response to Quigg’s fight challenge “"I would love it. I think Scott wants it; it's a summer showdown between the both of us. It's a massive fight but Scott needs to remember who the real world champion is… I would leave Belfast if I had to. Maybe somewhere neutral, it doesn't matter to me. I think Scott would agree with me. It's the biggest fight in the UK [other than] Amir Khan-Kell Brook possibly, but I think this one's been brewing a lot longer. It's a huge domestic showdown."

Frampton who has faced his own demons inside and outside of the ring in terms of the Irish Protestants and Catholic problems believes through his boxing he can become a “force of unity” like his Irish predecessor and Manager Mcguigan.

Frampton is already the people’s champion especially in Ulster, Ireland and will soon become a household name should he manage to achieve world domination and beat his boxing rivals.

I personally have followed Frampton’s career for some time and strongly believe he has the boxing ingredients to become one of the legends of the ring. However even though the Frampton fight against Quigg and Cruz are mouther watering prospects I believe Frampton will overcome them challenges and set up a mega fight with the evenly matched Rigondeaux.

We wish Frampton the best in his boxing career.

 

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An ‘Inspirational performance’

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CHAMP: Gymnast Rebecca Downie won Gold in both the European and Commonwealth Games last year, and picked up the Sporting Equals Sportswoman of the Year Award

CHAMP: Gymnast Rebecca Downie won Gold in both the European and Commonwealth Games last year, and picked up the Sporting Equals Sportswoman of the Year Award

BEDSAs hailed a huge success

The inaugural British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSA) finally took place last weekend in Coventry, as some of the country’s top sporting talents premiered on the red carpet.

Amongst them, was Leeds’ own, Ali Jawad, who was nominated for the Inspirational Sports Performance of the Year award, alongside fellow Yorkshireman, Qais Ahfaq, and sitting volleyball star, Netra Rana.

Jawad had a year to remember in 2014, picking up Bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Gold in the World Championships in Dubai.

INSPIRING: Ali Jawad was awarded the Inspirational Sports Performance of the Year award at the first ever BEDSA night last weekend

INSPIRING: Ali Jawad was awarded the Inspirational Sports Performance of the Year award at the first ever BEDSA night last weekend

Having been born without legs, his ambition is to become the first person who suffers from Crohns disease to win a Gold medal at the Paralympics in power-lifting.

His latest award was not a medal, but a welcome trophy, as he picked up the BEDSA accolade for his remarkable past 12 months.

Tweeting from the live event, he wrote: “Honoured to have won        the @uk_sport inspirational performance of the year at the @BEDSAofficial what a great night!”

The prestigious awards, voted on by the public, were attended by a host of other sporting legends and stars including Olympic heptathlon Gold medallist Denise Lewis and World and Olympic Champion, Christine Ohuruogu.

Other winners on the night included cricketer, Moeen Ali, who won the highly contested Lycamobile Sportsman of the Year category, and gymnast Rebecca Downie, European and Commonwealth Gold Medallist 2014, who won the Sporting Equals Sportswoman of the Year Award.

Moeen’s father, Munir Ali, picked up the award on his son’s behalf having been a mentor and inspiration throughout his life and cricketing career.

He said: “It was a real honour to pick up this award on behalf of my son. As a British Asian and a Muslim I know how much this award means to him. But for Moeen its always been about the cricket and I'm so glad that his current century has really helped to inspire the English team to raise their game.”

Other winners included Chris Powell for the FA Coach of the Year category and Denise Lewis, who was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award for her contribution to sport during her lifetime.

Arun Kang, the Chief Executive of Sporting Equals said: “The awards mark a key milestone in the sporting calendar. The calibre of the award winners voted for by thousands of people highlights the contribution that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic sports people are making to the world of sport.

“These awards have helped drive our new Future Champions programme which helps rising stars with the support, education and mentoring they need to succeed.

“By working closely with community projects and professional sports clubs, we will continue to increase diversity in sport and drive participation rates.”

 

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