When life gives you a golden chance, either you can turn the opportunity in your favour and become a hero or you can waste it and stay zero.
It all started on 18th June,2016, when my training camp for the IChO began. I knew it was going to be tough but I didn’t know that it was going to be neck-breaking. 16 hrs of continuous classes in the month of Ramadan wasn’t an easy game. Yeah you all heard it right, 16 hours. I was totally out of my comfort zone and the work load was getting on my nerves. I entered the field with a winning mentality but all the positiveness soon started to evaporate. Moreover, the homesickness was just killing me inside because I had always been a spoon fed child. I was ready to give up at any minute. But than I realised that it was not my choice. I wasn’t the only one dreaming for the medal. My parents, my friends, my family, my school, my mentors, my teachers and everyone who knew me was hoping to see me decorated. They all were actually behind me and were fighting for the medal. Quiting wasn’t an option now so the real struggle began.
21st July, 2016 at Istanbul Airport,Turkey.
It might be a great place for many but for me it was a complete haunted house. Why? Obviously I am going to tell you. Everything was calm until I met the other teams. I could see thick glasses. I could see hands full of notes. I could see thick books opened million times. Seriously, I was having panic attacks. What I am doing here? I started doubting my preparation. How can I compete with them. I was stuck and there was no going back.
22nd July, 2016 at hotel.
Soon we started talking to other teams and within no time we made some really good friends. We spent all nights playing cards. It was great to meet new people and share life experiences. One hot topic was the food. Trust me it wasn’t discussed because it was good. Why do they even call it food? I spent 10 days eating cucumber. Damn, I missed biryani so much.
Tic toc, Exam days
Quite unexpectedly I was so relaxed before the exam days. I was already seeing medals in my dream. Just kidding. I had the feeling that I can do it. I could feel that spark. I wanted to do my best and have fun. And I tried to do the same. But battling the time wasn’t fun at allll. Only I know how I completed my stuff with one foot in grave. After the exam I recalled things and quickly realized that I could have done better. But than I saw people crying during the practicals. I saw people staring at the paper because they knew it was going to be disastrous. I could see their dreams and life long goals getting faded in those tears. It was never easy.
1st August,2016, Result day.
Everyone was getting ready for the opening ceremony. So I packed my stuff including flag and went down stairs to meet my team mates. My team mates didn’t even bring their flag because they thought it wasn’t even possible for Pakistan to win a medal. I still had the optimistic feeling. Chinese students were almost prepared to take the gold while I was praying to get any medal possible. And then came the voice that still echos in my ears.
“Muhammad Ismail from Pakistan, bronze medal”
YES IT HAPPENED. YEAH, IT DID HAPPEN. THEY ANNOUNCED IT. Yes Yes Yes, it was my name. It wasn’t a dream. I could feel the shivers. I was speechless. I couldn’t move. I could not hear anything. The only next thing I knew was that I had the Pakistan flag waving in the air. The green flag dominating the show. The star and crescent spreading its beauty. I could see my mentor jumping with happiness. It was the best feeling. I would have been the most stupid person alive if I had given up on my dream. Even today when I think about that beautiful moment so I start getting goosebumps. Oh my God, I was finally decorated.