KARACHI: November 7 will go down in the history of city athletics in Karachi as a remarkable day when as many as 400 athletes from 39 schools, colleges and universities enthralled a large crowd at the Sindh Track and Field organised ‘Break The Barrier Track and Field Championship’.
It was the largest gathering of students and amateur athletes this city has seen in a long time. While two young teenagers from Sindh Track and Field club and Foundation Public School completely dominated their categories and events, the real news was the broad participation across all age and social income strata.
Shorter sprints are always popular, but this time it was the 400m and 800m events that drew large crowds of young athletic talent at National Coaching Centre.
To increase awareness for the cause of special needs education, the event commenced with a race for special needs children which also featured a team of mainstream school children. It was great to see a whole-hearted participation from not only the leading private schools but teams and clubs on behalf of government schools in Dalmia and old Subzi Mandi who competed neck and neck.
In the open category Abdul Mueed and Hiba broke the NCC field records in the 100m sprint held by amateur athletes.
The 6ft 3inch teen sensation Mueed clocked a blazing 10.8 seconds in the 100m sprint to pick up the gold as well as claimed the cash prize for breaking the barrier. Mueed went on to pick two additional golds in the 200m and 400m sprints.
Fellow teenager Hiba Khurshid from Foundation Public School claimed the cash prize in the women category by breaking her own personal best and clocking 12.6 seconds in the 100m sprint. Hiba picked up five more gold medals during the day as well led her school and club team to victory in the 4x100 relay race.
Almas Ibrahim claimed the last ‘Break The Barrier’ cash prize of the day by picking up a gold in the 400m sprint in the same category with a time of 65.93 seconds.
In the school category Generations and Foundation Public School picked up the championship trophies in the boys and girls category respectively. Bilal Salman from Generations and Hiba from Foundation Public School were declared the best athletes for scoring the most points across all events and athletes in their category during the daylong event.
In the men 4x100 relay race Athletic Fitness School caused the biggest upset of the day by beating the pre-event favourites Aga Khan University Hospital and MSA club.
Volunteers from Karachi University, FAST NUCES, PASHA and The Nest.io helped out with organisation, logistics and social media coverage. This was the third event during the current calendar year organised by Sindh Track and Field club in collaboration with the city and provincial amateur athletic associations.
Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2015