My name is Ali Jowad Kadhim and I’m also known in the Parkour world as “Ali Lami”. I’m a Parkour athlete, novel writer, teacher/co-founder of IFPF (Iraq Freerunning Parkour Federation) , and a Parkour trainer (coach). I was born in Iran in 1993 and I’m fluent in three living languages Arabic, Farsi, English and familiar with Spanish. I moved to Iraq upon high school graduation to pursue my university education and improve my job opportunities.
As a Parkour athlete, I have won many awards including the “Iraq Creative Young People” award in 2015. I graduated from the University of Baghdad majoring in English literature in 2014. And I have written novels and poems in English that are praised by my professors.
Moving to Iraq from Iran as a well-trained athlete in Parkour, I established the Iraq Freerunning Parkour Federation (IFPF). My goal was to bring joy and hope to younger generation of children who were suffering from the recent war crisis. I am very proud of this achievement because, because most of people and the government were not familiar with Parkour in Iraq. They were against Parkour, thinking that it is just a western dance that was against the majority of people’s culture in Iraq
I started to familiarize the country with Parkour and trained youth who were interested in Parkour without governmental support. So far I have trained more than 200 athletes; some of which have become very successful in the field then I became a WFPF affiliate athlete in 2013 and advanced to become a WFPF sponsored athlete in 2017.
I established the first dedicated Iraqi Parkour school/gym in 2015 when the government and Youth ministry agreed to give me a vacant gym which then equipped with financial aid and guidance from WFPF and other charities.
It continues to be a challenge to keep the school open to this day, despite having many students who attend and the support of WFPF. After one of the countless ISIS attacks on Iraq, things changed horribly. One of my Parkour students died from a mine that was placed in the area where they were training. The government repossessed the gym including all the equipment furnished by us and sold it.
In 2016, I rented two private, non-governmental gyms to continue my career as a trainer. Two major suicide attacks happened in 2016; the first of which was in Dakhil and the second one in Karrdah that killed one of my close friends. The explosion happened less than 1 mile away from me. Still, I continue to push on and try to be an inspiration to my many young students of Parkour. If I show them that I am strong and resilient, they will also grow to be good Iraqi citizens that believe in peace and in the hope that they can make the world a better place.
Below is a video from the WFPF sponsored Iraqi Freerunning Parkour Federation (IFPF) Academy and Training Center.