Visual impairment couldn’t hold him back as Mohammed Asif Iqbal has been an absolute inspiration to everyone to set the bar of excellency and determination to a new high by participating in Tata Steel Kolkata 25K marathon two year in a row.
This is going to be Asif’s second year in Bengal’s biggest running carnival as he is going to run in the 10K race category this year in TSK 25K on the raceday, 16 December.
He has previously run Airtel marathon 5k, Tata Steel Kolkata 6K last year and Airtel 2018, Rotary and Bhumi each 10K this year so far.
Asif is going to run in TSK without holding hands which he has done before once by following the voice instructions only, by the fellow runners Biswajit Gudia and Devendra Singh.
About what inspired him to run Asif said: “I had hypertension. That kind of got me thinking that I am only forty and I have got hypertension. Tomorrow I may have diabetes and day after tomorrow I will get high cholesterol. My health would go for a toss and I still have a lot to do in my life.
“So I thought let’s start running and here I am,” he added.
He had a close colleague who lost his life at the age of 32yrs old because of cardiac arrest as he didn’t take care of himself and that’s ignited him.
About the changes and developments he had experienced after picking up running Asif said: “After I picked up running, I am much more focus, more mind control and I am much more energetic. I started with 108kg, now 96kg but my goal is to become 85kg.”
Last year he ran three 5 Kilometer marathons and this year preparing hard for the 10K and targeting to take part in 21K next year, always setting the bar more high.
“At first I started walking in the Central Park with the help of one of my friends who also motivated me a lot. I did my training five days a week. Then people told me to participate in the running events and I didn’t have the guts to run in 5 kilometre category then. I mean I could barely run 5 metres. With the help of Ajey Pal Singh, Devendra Singh I gradually picked up and ran in marathons,” he said about how he picked up and prepared for the distance running.
When asked about his target now he amazed us with his answer saying: “My target is to lose at least 15 kg in the next 6-9 months and then atleast be able to run 21k maybe next year.”
His mantra: “I have no role model in sports. There is one mantra that I follow that is I compete against myself. If I’m doing the fit then I have to be better than yesterday and tomorrow I have to better than today.”
His message to the people: “Start soon before you get a shock or before some medical urgency happens. It’s like a passion.
Asif’s life story:
He could not see well from birth he turned completely blind at the age of 16 but he is one such person who believes that the only disability a person can have is a bad attitude he received his early education in united states and went on to learn how to use a computer through voice activated software.
Asif was born in Bhagalpur and now lives in Salt Lake, a Kolkatan from heart.
He became the first blind commerce graduate from St. Xavier’s college Calcutta and then the first blind MBA in HR from Symbiosis Pune, not only did he help himself but was instrumental in creating reservation quota across IM’s IIT’s and all government universities in India. Presently he is the senior manager at PWC India.
In his 13yr span career he had designed and implemented social inclusion strategy for aadhar, accessible income tax etc and in order to promote this digital inclusion agenda he has met former president of india Dr. Apj Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Narender Modi and various other eminent personalities.
He has also been appointed as the digital inclusion expert for smart city project under the government of india with the mission to empower the disabled technologically.
He is honoured with various awards such national award, west bengal state role model award, extra ordinary citizen of kolkata award etc.
He would like to ignite the mind of the youth and influence their thought process of being inclusive in their workforce along with universal design of products and services. He looks forward in contributing to nation building and exploring partnership for collaborations to take his missions of strong inclusive India which offers offortunity for all.i