Wrestler Muhammad Inam, who on Saturday became the only Pakistani athlete to bag a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games 2018, has revealed how he hatched a spontaneous psychological plan to tame Indian rival Somveer in the quarter-finals before going all the way.
In a series of videos made soon after his historic 3-0 victory over Nigeria's Bibo in the final, Inam recalled: "Somveer was already the pre-event favourite and on my way to the wrestling mat I noticed how Indian fans were outnumbering Pakistani fans. They were chanting 'India, India!' and cheering for their guy.
"This is when I changed my mindset. I told myself that all these people are not shouting 'India India' but are actually saying Inam, Inam!'"
"It helped me become extra aggressive and win that fight. And once I had beaten the Indian guy I was sure that now I would not settle for anything less than gold."
Inam also talked about his dominating win over Bibo in the gold medal match, saying: "This guy (Bibo) is the African champions and currently world number two. But our team identified his weak areas and formulated a special plan, which I executed to perfection and won the gold medal for Pakistan."
For Inam, like any other wrestler, the ultimate target remains the Olympic Games — a dream he believes can be achieved if the government and relevant sports boards support local athletes.
"The athletes we compete against go through full four-year preparations for Olympics," said Inam. "Even the Indian athletes, when we talk to them, they tell us that as soon as an Olympic event ends they start preparing for the next one in foreign countries. An of course that four years of high-level training shows physically [and in their results]."
"The next Olympics is now two years away. I plead with the Pakistan government and the Pakistan Sports Board to please cooperate with us," he added.