Islamabad: When 21-year-old Asif Magsi shared his latest video of an epic long jump over 11 motorbikes, he thought he was simply sharing something cool. “It was my personal best and I received an overwhelming response online but that’s about it,” said the Pakistani TikTok star with over 1.2 million followers. He had no idea that his latest achievement would change his life.
‘Asif is a gifted athlete’
Asif’s incredible leap earned him the title of “the flying man” and “Hero Pakistani” as his video was shared by thousands and viewed millions of times on several social media platforms.
The video not only fascinated online spectators but also the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP). The President of AFP Major General (retd) Akram Sahi immediately contacted the talented young boy. “I was halfway through breakfast when I first saw Asif’s long jump video. I was so impressed that I instantly asked my team to find this boy, invite him to Lahore and begin his training as a professional athlete,” remarked Akram Sahi, Pakistan’s long jump champion. During the training, he would learn to balance three key components - speed, technique and strength. “The boy is a gifted athlete. The most incredible part is his action in the air that displays his ability to become a world-class athlete,” the AFP President said.
Asif aims to make his leap a “world record”
Asif who hails from the dusty Thatta city of Sindh and lives in Karachi is thrilled about the opportunity to join the training. “I have been attempting long jumps over the canals and then bikes for some time and then started making videos to share my passion with the world.” The videos with national songs in the background and featuring Asif in a Pakistani flag shirt or holding the flag in his hand added a patriotic and passionate touch that was cherished by his followers. “I wanted to join Pakistan Army since childhood and make my country proud,” he said. Asif hopes that professional training will make him go “faster, farther and higher” to achieve his dream to set a new world record in the long jump, become a world champion and “make Pakistan proud”.
Epic jump hailed on Twitter
The talented 21-year-old impressed Twitter where people asked Pakistan’s sports authorities to invest in people full of potential and promise to make the country proud at international sports events such as Olympics. “His talent should be appreciated and he must get good trainers and coach so that he will be ready for Olympics and world championships” claimed one.
The video left many speculating about the actual length he covered as Asif himself had little idea about it. “According to my rough calculation, the boy jumped at least 22 feet. High school records in Pakistan are 21 feet or so. Pakistan’s long jump national record is 25.5 feet and the world record is 29.3 feet. This boy can reach the Olympics with proper training,” commented Hammad Husain on Twitter.
The current world record for long jump is 8.95 metres (29 feet), held by American athlete Mike Powell – a record that still stands since 1991.
Carl Lewis, American track-and-field athlete who won nine Olympic gold medals also admired the Pakistani youngster’s talent. “Actually with his lack of fear, he has the perfect mindset,” he wrote.
Shaniera Akram, social activist and wife of former cricketer Wasim Akram, lauded the potential and said: “Wow he’s incredible. It scares me to think how much undiscovered raw talent we are neglecting.”
One of the first videos of Asif shared on Twitter by Kalim Khan with the caption “Imagine finding him, working on him and preparing him for Olympics long jump” has been viewed over 820,000 times and liked by nearly 32,000.