KARACHI: On a windy day in February earlier this year, 15-year-old Abdul Muheed put on his football cleats and headed to a new field.
Rather than playing football with his club that fateful Saturday afternoon, Muheed ran at a local athletics meet.
He won both his events despite wearing shoes that held him back but got noticed by coaches at a local track and field club.
On Sept 12, 2015, Muheed took the next big step in what promises to be an interesting and rewarding career.
At the Mujahid Sabir Memorial Open Athletics Championship, this young athlete caused a major upset by dethroning well established local favourites.
In the 100m dash and the 200m sprint Muheed picked up two gold medals clocking 11:10 and 23:03 seconds respectively.
One of the youngest men ever to be crowned the fastest man in Karachi, this was Muheed’s second big win after picking up the national junior championship’s best athlete trophy in May at the inter-provincial event organised in Peshawar by Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).
In the women’s open category, Hiba Khurshid put up an equally impressive performance.
After competing in the morning inter school athletics championship and winning her individual events, 13-year-old Hiba pulled another sprint double in the afternoon and picked up golds in both the 100 and 200m sprints, helping her team (Sindh Track and Field Club) win the women’s trophy at the meet.
In the morning session, City School PAF Chapter dominated boys and girls events and picked up both trophies.
However, their dominance was challenged in the under-17 category and the challengers included gold doubles by Salwa Farid (Froebel Education Academy) in the 400m and 800m, sprint doubles by Hiba Khurshid (Foundation Public School) in 100 and 200m sprints; silver sprint doubles by Mohammed Shayan Mustafa (CAS School) in the boys 100 and 200m sprints and silver and bronze medal by Amin Farid (CAS School) in the 400m and 200m sprint.
The inter-school and divisional athletics championships are now playing an increasingly important role in the identification, training and growth of young talent in Karachi.
More championships like these may finally break the dry spell Pakistan has been witnessing in the track and field arena.
Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2015