Fight for Peace Weightlifter Mohez Khan tells his story of becoming a UK national champion

19/10/2017 – In under a year, London Academy athlete Mohez Khan went from a complete beginner in Olympic weightlifting to being crowned Junior British Champion. Here he tells us about this lightening trajectory and how his teammates, coaches and Fight for Peace helped him get to the top:

I come from Canning Town, which is just up the road from the Fight for Peace London Academy. Growing up in this part of east London, crime was happening around me – really, really close around me. I knew people that went off the path and I always try to bring them back but even with all of this going on, I have to try to stay on my path and try and go forward not backwards. I do this by keeping that focus of going to university and keeping up with training and progressing like that. Sport helps focus me and it is also a great motivator for me.

I joined Fight for Peace four years ago with some friends. We initially did a muay thai session, which was an absolute killer, but we enjoyed it and we just kept coming. When I started college, I stopped training for a while and throughout the time that I was away I felt that something was missing, I wasn’t being pushed, but when I returned to Fight for Peace, training judo, jiu jitsu and strength and conditioning, I was like ‘this is what was missing’!! A month later I began Olympic weightlifting.

I have been doing this sport for nine months now and I have grown to love it more and more as I have gone on. It is very, very technical, but because I have seen it here and at my university where I study Sport and Exercise Science it was easier to learn. Having said that, I am still learning the basics, you still have to get that done first.

I began training two days a week and then in the run up to our first competition we started lifting everyday and then later as much as twice a day! Competing in London, I came second in my first competitive event and then my training partner, Jawany and I took gold and silver in our second competition. These results gave me the chance to compete at the under-20s National Weighlifting Championships held in Leeds. The stage was much, much bigger than what I was used to and the nerves got to me because there was an audience cheering. But you have to try your best at the end of the day.

I lifted the same in the snatch as my nearest competitor but my clean and jerk was stronger. That meant that I was able to get the gold medal and become the British Champion! I wouldn’t have been able to get to this stage without Jawany and our coach Mercy. They were the ones that helped me, we pushed each other. Mercy is the most important player on the team, she devises the plans and she is a Team GB lifter herself so we have so much to learn from her. She has broken British records and it is such a privilege to have someone like her here at Fight for Peace to coach us.

Next up, I have a local competition in London to qualify for the senior English Open. I am going to have to put in a lot of work between here and December to qualify for that. I am also hopefully going to graduate this academic year and I aim to do a Masters Degree in Physiotherapy. I will also keep up with my training and progress and do more competitions with Jawany and with Mercy’s help.

I feel that we all here owe so much to Fight for Peace, they offer so much, they help others with jobs, health problems, mental issues. I think some people take it for granted but as you get older you realise how much Fight for Peace is offering for free. Hopefully, we all become successful and then it’s our turn to give back – for me this is one of my goals.