Dewsbury powerlifter Imran Khan reveals his uplifting story of success

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The tale of how Dewsbury Moor powerlifter Imran Khan became a national and international champion is no ordinary success story.

​Imran’s rise has been speedy as he only started powerlifting in September 2022 yet already by last year he was good enough to win the British Championship, European and Commonwealth Championship and World Championship as a tested athlete.

He was also honoured to be made the British Powerlifting Federation and World Powerlifting Union team GB captain.

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The success is continuing in 2024 as this month Imran won the British Championship, lifting more weight than last year despite being a whole weight category lighter.

Dewsbury Moor's Imran Khan with the two gold medals he won at the recent British Powerlifting Championships.Dewsbury Moor's Imran Khan with the two gold medals he won at the recent British Powerlifting Championships.
Dewsbury Moor's Imran Khan with the two gold medals he won at the recent British Powerlifting Championships.

He is now a back to back two weight division British Champion from the 140kg category last year to the 125kg category this year. And all this success is all the more remarkable as Imran has had to overcome extreme health issues to get to where he is today.

He told the Reporter Series: “In 2012 I had multiple health issues, which include heart disease, stent in my artery after a heart attack, severe asthma since birth, osteoarthiritis in both knees and my left hip, gout in my right foot, inflamed tendon in my right shoulder which resulted in surgeory shaving the bone down.

"I was on crutches for a year and had a walking stick for three years.

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"During this time I became very depressed and would stay in my bedroom most of the time as it was easier to go to the bathroom.

Dewsbury Moor powerlifter Imran Khan top of the podium at the British Championships.Dewsbury Moor powerlifter Imran Khan top of the podium at the British Championships.
Dewsbury Moor powerlifter Imran Khan top of the podium at the British Championships.

"It took me four years to be able to walk again and speak without getting out of breath. Finally I was able to work again.

"Back in December 2012 I had a severe pain in my chest for about six hours and it wasn't until I started wheezing that I told my wife to call an ambulance. Whilst my wife was on the phone to 999 my eyes rolled in the back of my head and I stopped breathing.

"Luckily for me a medic was on the way before the ambulance and once he arrived he injected me with adrenaline, put an Asprin in my mouth and put me on oxygen.

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"Once I became concious and started to talk the medic checked my heart rate a couple of times as he thought it might have been a faulty reading, the last one showing 34 beats a minute.

“I had been on oxygen for about 15 minutes at this point and after getting to hospital and having tests done I was told I had a heart attack. I was also told I needed a stent in my artery due to a blockage and I had heart disease.”

Imran continued: "In 2020 after being on furlough for eight months I returned to work and caught covid.

"I ended up fighting for life again, already having asthma, heart disease and a stent in my artery I now had covid, pneumonia and a chest infection.

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"It was two-and-a-half years after this I started powerlifting so that I could do something to motivate other people with health issues to show them than you can come back from illness.”

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Imran credits his coach Marcus Griffiths – a 21 times world champion, five times Mr Olympia winner and president of the BPF and WPU – for helping him to turn his life around so spactacularly.

He explained: "Everything I have achieved is thanks to him – he has changed my life forever and I can't thank him enough.

"I hope my story might be able to inspire and motivate others who might be struggling from physical or mental health."

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In the recent British Championships Imran won gold for strict curl and gold for full power, which is squat, bench and deadlift.

​He added: “I dedicated my victory to my father Mahamood Khan who had major spine surgery last month.

"He was told he would be paralysed from the neck down if he didn't have the surgery, but there was also a chance he could have a stroke or heart attack if he did. Thank God he had the procedure and is recovering.”

Imran is grateful to Kevin Spencer and Neil Brolly, from Total Protection Security, and Paul Reather, from DP Tank Clean, both companies in Wakefield, for sponsoring him for the British Championship, allowing him to focus on the event and not have to worry about travel, hotel, food etc.

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