SAHIWAL: Brilliant athlete Nadia Nazir breathed her last in a hospital at Bahawalnagar on Saturday after she got critically injured in a road accident while returning with her husband Hafiz Muddasir and seven-year-old son Ozaffa after attending a marriage ceremony of her in-laws.

Her son also expired on the spot.

She was a very fine athlete with five bronze medals to her name in international competitions. She was also a four-time national champion and a record holder in 400-metre hurdles race since 2007 with a timing of 61.50 seconds which is yet to be surpassed.

According to eye witnesses on Saturday, Nadia’s car collided with a sugarcane trolley near Amin Kot Stop, Chishtiyain. Her son died instantly while Nadia and her husband received serious head injuries. Rescue 1122 shifted her to DHQ Hospital, Bahwalnagar in a critical condition but later she succumbed to injuries.

Adil Nazir, her younger brother, was at her side in the hopsital when she expired. Nadia was a permanent resident of Mohalla Farid Ganjh and belonged to a lower middle- class family.

During 2010, while practising on the track at the Government Post Graduate College, she complained about the lack of training venues for women athletes. “There is no place for women athletes to do practice, so I have to train alongside males,” she said.

Nadia was enthusiastic, energetic and committed to athletics which was her passion.

She started her running career in 2000. At the earlier stages, it was Nadia’s father who accompanied her at all running tracks and ultimately in 2006 she became the national champion. She beat her own record at the 2007 National Games in Lahore and from then on, she won the title of national champion for six consecutive years.

Nadia also competed in the World Championship and Asian Games besides visiting India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran, Hong Kong and China for athletic events. She got married in 2011 to Hafiz Muddasir of Bahwalnagar who continued to back her passion for athletics.

Nadia also participated in 2013 National Games and was a clear winner in the100-metre race. Very few people are aware that she was also an excellent football goalkeeper.

She always advocated coaching and training facilities at the grassrooot level such as schools. She often dreamt of a society where female athletes do not have to face political, social, religious and cultural pressures.

Pakistan sports are surely poorer with Nadia’s sad demise.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2017

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