KARACHI: The President, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), retired Lt Gen Syed Arif Hasan has said that everyone in the country is keen to see Pakistan’s athletes perform well in the Tokyo Olympics, set to start from July 23, and added that he is confident of their fine show in the Games.

“Despite the Covid-19, these athletes have proven their capabilities at the Olympic qualifiers and surely, they will showcase the same sort of excellent performances at the Tokyo Olympics,” Arif said while talking to this correspondent.

“It has been almost three decades that Pakistan won an Olympic medal. The last occasion was in 1992 Games at Barcelona where the Pakistan hockey team, led by Shahbaz Ahmed, had won a bronze medal,” he recalled. “We hope for a good news this year at the Tokyo Olympics and we are keen to see out athletes excel at the mega event.”

Arif congratulated the athletes who have qualified for the Tokyo Games and said: “Representing your nation at the Olympics is a moment of great honour and the result of your determination and hard work.”

The Pakistan contingent for Tokyo Games is a short one and comprises 20 members in all including 10 athletes from six different disciplines who qualified for the Olympics, namely Najma Parveen in 200m women’s race, Arshad Nadeem in javelin throw, Mahoor Shahzad in badminton singles, Shah Hussain Shah in judo competition (100 kg), Mohammad Khalil Akhtar and Ghulam Mustafa Bashir in 25m Rapid Fire Pistol and Gulfam Joseph in 10m Air Pistol shooting events), swimming (Bisma Khan in 50m freestyle and Syed Mohammad Haseeb Tariq (100m freestyle) and weightlifting (Talha Talib in 67 kg).

The players will depart in groups from July 16. Brigadier Mohammad Zaheer Akhtar will be the Chef de Mission.

Meanwhile, the POA president has also congratulated Pakistan Navy, Karachi Sports Foundation, Sindh Olympic Association and Pakistan Sailing Federation for collaborating with Pakistan Olympic Association for the Olympic Day celebrations as well as beach cleaning, tree plantation and other events to mark this year’s theme.

“Organising these kinds of events will help to spread the importance of health and sports in the society,” Arif concluded.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2021

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