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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

UAE Portrait of a Nation: Athlete uses power of sport to help others achieve their dreams

Mohammed-Ehsan Hatef creates active-wear that carry inspirational quotes by iconic figures

Mohammed-Ehsan Hatef is using sport to inspire others to reach their goals. Antonie Robertson/The National
Mohammed-Ehsan Hatef is using sport to inspire others to reach their goals. Antonie Robertson/The National

An athlete is using the power of sport to help others achieve their dreams - after "finding himself" when a major injury left him unable to walk for a year.

Sport has been a big part of Mohammed-Ehsan Hatef's life since the age of ten, first as a basketball player before he became a professional snowboarder and a parkour coach.

But his high energy lifestyle was brought to a sudden halt when he broke his Achilles eight years ago.

His many months of immobility gave him plenty of time for contemplation and allowed him to shape his plan to help others.

“During that one year, I guess I found myself,” said the 34-year-old, who lives in Dubai.

Once he recovered and was able to get active he realised his time spent on the sidelines had changed his outlook.

“I calmed down a bit and became a sports and lifestyle coach.”

He decided to launch a project that inspires people to create their own success stories.

“We want to wake the people up, to tell them if you want something you have to go get it, don’t wait for things to come to you.

“Unfortunately many people have become followers, every day they are wasting their time checking the stories of other people’s lives; so many hours are spent doing just that and it is not touching their lives at all.”

With this thought in mind, he came up with Warrior Angels, a sports clothing line that carries inspirational messages from icons such as boxing great Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan to urge people to never give up on their aspirations.

“We took the idols that people believe in and put their quotes and images on the sportswear, to remind people that those successful individuals said that.

“And if you want to succeed like them you have to go out and do something yourself.”

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And once the business grows bigger, he plans to help talented individuals establish themselves.

“We want to help people who have skills but don’t have money, by sponsoring them and giving them the facilities they need.”

Mr Hatef said the idea to start such a project has been in his mind for years.

“Around a year ago I was sitting at home and I said I have to do it and bring it out.”

So he started brainstorming for a logo to go with the concept, and having studied graphic design in university it was not hard for him to illustrate the image that came to his mind: A muscular figure with massive wings.

He collaborated with his wife Zvezdana Todorovic, a supermodel who dealt with many brands and therefore understands how fashion is made, and started designing their first collection.

“We put our minds together to tell a tale of success and create something inspirational.”

Warrior Angels kicked off with a collection featuring the late American boxing champion and activist Muhammad Ali.

On one of the t-shirts, Ali's image is infused with typography on the front, and his famous quote “The man who has no imagination has no wings” on the back.

Another item features Ali’s quote: “If my mind can conceive it, if my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.”

A few months later, Warrior released a dream collection featuring the late American rapper and actor Tupac Shakur, using his image and renowned quote: “Reality is wrong, dreams are for real.”

Their latest collection calls for people to believe in their dreams. One of the quotes says: “When no one else believed in me, I did”.

“The 'believe' collection is because we believe in the family we want to create,” said Mr Hatef.

He said a portion of the profits they have made has been going to people in need.

“that is the main reason we created this company: to help other people.”

Warrior Angels is currently available on Instagram, and will be launching its own website soon.