Iconic stonelifter from Kingswinford honoured in House of Lords ceremony

Stourbridge News: King Shazad receiving his 'iconic stonelifter' award from Lord Ahmed King Shazad receiving his 'iconic stonelifter' award from Lord Ahmed

PARLIAMENT played host to an event commemorating a Black Country stone lifter - hailed the greatest of all time.

Shahzada Saleem, known as King Shazad to his fans, was presented with an 'iconic stonelifter' award by Lord Nazier Ahmed in a ceremony at the House of Lords honouring top Asian bodybuilders, weight lifters and sports personalities.

At the age of 18 Mr Saleem became the youngest world champion ever in the traditional Asian sport of stone lifting in 1985 - and during a ten-year reign he enjoyed repeated record-breaking success.

The taxi firm boss from Kingswinford said after the commemorative event in the Lords on February 24: "I am truly honoured to have received the iconic stonelifter award. I want to give special thanks to Lord Nazir who invited us to the House of Lords."

Strapping 48-year-old grandfather Mr Saleem, who runs Sedgley based Beacon Taxis and Express Taxis in Halesowen, also thanked his brothers Mohammed Aurangzeb and Shahzada Tanveer for their help throughout his career - and he praised his fans, saying without their love and support "this award recognition would never have been possible".

His son Shaz Saleem, who also attended the bash at the Lords, said: "I'm very proud of my dad's achievements; he's such a great role model. He teaches a lot of youngsters with the aim of keeping kids off the streets and getting them involved in sports and education."

In 1995 King Shazad became the first person to lift 201kg - a record that remained unbroken for 13 years.

The following year 50,000 people watched his final appearance in Pakistan before he retired from the sport due to a lack of competition.

Then after a 14-year break from competing, he made an heroic comeback at the age of 45 and lifted a whopping 210kg in front of 10,000 fans at the Manchester Mela in 2010.

He also made history by becoming the oldest world champion ever seen in the sport - which sees competitors lifting a massive stone block with just one hand.

In honour of his achievements - the borough's Dudley Mela event was renamed the Shazad Mela and in 2010 he was presented with a lifetime achievement trophy by the Mayor of Dudley and the following year he scooped the borough's Duncan Edwards Award for Sport.

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