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After facing an uncertain future in Canada, this kickboxer has just won the NL Championship

After facing an uncertain future in Canada, this kickboxer has just won the NL Championship

An Egyptian-born kickboxer living in Newfoundland who once faced an uncertain future in Canada has had a major reversal of fortune, both in and out of the ring.

Hadi Ghoneim two years ago. He made a last-ditch effort to stay in the countryAfter violating the rule of his study permit. The odds were not in his favor, but Ghoneim – who describes himself as “half Egyptian, half salt beef” – was desperate to stay.

Ghoneim, now 28, spoke to CBC News about the ordeal and his hope for the future, which galvanized support from the community and from both levels of government.

After a long wait, Ghoneim received confirmation of his permanent residency in February.

“I'm very grateful and happy. Now I have MCP, I can go to the hospital. I can compete without having that anxiety,” Ghoneim said in a recent interview, referring to Newfoundland and Labrador's Medicare plan. And Labrador.

“This is all off my shoulders, I can go visit my family.”

It also paved the way for him to compete in the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations Canadian National Championships last weekend in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where he captured the national title in his weight class and was named Waco Athlete of the Year.

watched Kickboxer gearing up for fighting years in the making:

“It's an honor to be able to give back to this beautiful place, this beautiful island, and to give back to my coaches and teammates for all the hard work they put in together,” said Ghoneim, who brought Egyptian and Newfoundland and Labrador flags to the contest. .

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“Fighting is a very lonely sport, and it's an individual sport when you're in the ring. But to get to this point, it's a team sport.”

Home officially

Ghoneim arrived in St. John's on a warm, sunny May day in 2017, and was immediately struck by the rugged beauty of the place and the people who inhabit it.

He attended Memorial University for a year and a half, but after he and his family in Egypt fell on difficult financial times, Ghoneim said, he dropped out.

He later returned to school, but it was too late.

By leaving school for any period of time – not including scheduled school breaks – he violated his study permit rule which requires permit holders to remain at the university.

Through his lawyer, Ghoneim applied for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds – a potentially long shot, but one that has paid off.

Ghoneim is now returning to Egypt to visit his family for the first time in seven years, something he was unable to do until he obtained his permanent residency.

Ghanim and his coach Robbie Wiseman captured two national titles at the Waco Canada Championships last weekend.

Ghanim and his coach Robbie Wiseman captured two national titles at the Waco Canada Championships last weekend.

Ghanim and his coach Robbie Wiseman captured two national titles at the Waco Canada Championships last weekend. (Submitted by Hadi Ghoneim)

Coach Robbie Wiseman, who also won a national title in the weight class, said Ghoneim's approach in his fight to become a Canadian mirrors his movements in the ring.

“There's no giving up with Hadi. You have to persevere and keep chipping away, and that's how he fights, too,” said Weissman of Mount Pearl's Rock Athletics team.

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“There is no support, and when he moves forward he keeps going until he finds what he is looking for.”

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