Badshah Khan: ‘In my dream, I beat the world champion and decided that I would remain a wrestler’

Badshah Khan: ‘In my dream, I beat the world champion and decided that I would remain a wrestler’, “Baba was persuaded with difficulty and got admission in the wrestling academy, but how could a poor boy like me bring one lakh rupees every month?”

Then one day I slept in the hostel thinking that I would go back home tomorrow but at night I dreamed that I had beaten the world champion Roman Reigns in a world match.

This was a hint from above. I have also decided that now I will definitely reach WWE. This is the dream of 21-year-old Arif Saleem from Rambin district of Indian-administered Kashmir.

He has been training for WWE for the last three years at a private academy of a world wrestler in Jalandhar, Indian Punjab to become a world-class wrestler under the name ‘Badshah Khan’.

This academy is run by India’s ‘Great Khali’ who defeated a wrestler known as ‘The Undertaker’ in a match of WWE or World Wrestling Entertainment.

In India-administered Jammu and Kashmir, WWE-style wrestling has neither a trend nor a training center, so how did Arif Saleem get this hobby?

Why be a wrestler?

Badshah Khan’s father Muhammad Saleem is an inspector in India’s paramilitary force CRPF.

He says, “Many years ago when Arif was in the fifth standard, my duty started in Srinagar. I also took the children, thinking that their education would be well arranged.

Then on a day off, I took Arif to my camp where there was a big TV in the hall. The same wrestling match was taking place on it. Arif watched the whole day and then at home, he started watching only this on TV.

They say that Badshah Khan started stubbornly to become a wrestler in the 8th grade but somehow he passed the 10th grade.

“I said, son, this is not even India’s game, it is the game of millionaires, but he had decided that he would become a wrestler.”

Badshah Khan says ‘Baba kept on delaying till I passed 12th. Then they became helpless in front of my stubbornness and we found a wrestling academy in Jalandhar.’

“I tried to convince Arif to get admission in a good college, read and write, and become an officer or a doctor,” says Salim.
The entrance fee of this academy is four lakh rupees, while the monthly expenditure of each under-trained boy is from 50 thousand to 1 lakh rupees on food and other expenses.

Badshah Khan’s father says, “What else does an employee like me have besides salary?” I tried to convince Arif to get admission in a good college, study, and become an officer or a doctor.

But he said that the expenses he wants to spend on his education and training should be spent on wrestling coaching.

“Doesn’t take diet or supplements at all for fear of money”

At the time of admission, Badshah Khan’s father requested the director of the academy ‘Great Khali’ to discount the fee, he said that there would be no discount, but seeing Badshah Khan’s passion, he would take this fee in four installments.

Badshah Khan says ‘I know how my parents reduce other expenses and send money to me by adding each penny.’

“The other guys there don’t compromise, but I have limited my expenses to 30,000 to 40,000.”

“I have been in a room without AC for three years in forty-degree heat because the rent for an AC room is high.”

He says, “I follow a very low diet and do not take supplements at all. My focus is on training and my destination is WWE.

Return home after three years

Wrestlers under training are not given leave during training and this is the reason why Badshah Khan returned home after three years.

When they got home, their mother and sister were emotional and crying and their father had come home from far away to see them just for one night.

Badshah Khan says that when he returned after three years, ‘I didn’t even recognize my town. The road has been built, new shops, and many new houses.

“It hurts to be away from home, but I’m making a lot of sacrifices to go to WWE,” he says.

How is the selection done?

WWE stands for (‘World Wrestling Entertainment)

It is very popular in Western countries. But for world competitions trials are held in all countries of the world and new wrestlers are selected from most of the countries. Then these wrestlers have to participate in world competitions.

Badshah Khan says that within a few years, there will be trials in India in which trainers from academies established in some big cities of India will participate.

The matches I have played at the academy have been well appreciated. My style is different and facial expression is very important in this game.

I can show a lot of aggression while playing. If there are trials, I am 100 percent sure that I will be selected.

Is this game dangerous?

Just as gladiators fought in ancient Greece and people enjoyed it, so does WWE wrestling, but there is not much bloodshed here.

However, if the player gets choked, he can get seriously injured.

Badshah Khan says ‘That’s why there is training on how to save the opponent’s attack.’

And then there is danger in every game, it’s just that we have an aggressive style here, which makes the danger seem greater.

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