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KARACHI, Nov 15: There was a time when Pakistan enjoyed a respectable position in track and field events, particularly at the Asian level. Khaliq, Raziq, Mubarak Shah, Nawaz and Mirza Khan to mention a few, were the pillars of Pakistan athletics.

These brave Army soldiers laid a solid foundation for the country’s sports and will always be remembered for their dedication and commitment. They were, of course, lucky to have a great personality in Brig. Rodham as sports administrator during their time.

After its coming into being, Pakistan came into the fold of Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) making its presence felt in the second Asian Games at Manila in 1954. (Pakistan had skipped the inaugural Asiad that took place at New Delhi in 1951, though it started featuring in the Olympics right from 1948).

Since their debut at the Manila Games, Pakistan kept on bringing laurels in athletics in the successive Asiads for over two decades until 1978 Bangkok Asian Games. From then onwards, the graph in athletics start falling and Pakistan have only been on the victory podium thrice — when Policeman Ghulam Abbas did the country proud with his gold medal feat in 400m hurdles; Nadir Khan getting bronze in 800m at Beijing Asian Games in 1990; and Aqarab Abbas’s bronze at Hiroshima Games four years later.

Pakistani athletes proved their mettle when they returned with a haul of four golds and as many silvers from Manila, besides the joy and pride of Khaliq getting the “Fastest Man of Asia” title.

The other recipients of gold were Sharif Butt 200m, Mirza Khan 400m hurdles and Mohammad Nawaz javelin throw. Silver medals went to Mohammad Aslam 200m, Jalal Khan javelin throw, Mohammad Iqbal hammer throw and other in 400 x 100m relay (Khaliq, Aslam, Sharif, Aziz).

Pakistan took a big leap on the medal tally raising it from eight to 13 in the third Asian Games held at Tokyo. This was exactly half in number of Pakistan’s total of 26 medals. Pakistani athletes ended up with five golds, four silvers and four bronzes.

While Khaliq and Nawaz retained their titles, the other three golds came through the efforts of Mubarak Shah in 3000m steeplechase, Ghulam Raziq 110m hurdles and Mohammad Iqbal hammer throw. The silver was won by Abdul Khaliq 200m, Mubarak Shah 10,000m, Jalal Khan javelin throw and Mohammad Ayub discus throw. Ramzan, Allah Ditta and Malik Noor clinched a bronze apiece besides the one in 4 x 100m relay quartet comprising Sharif, Raziq, Ramzan and Khaliq.

In the fourth Asian Games at Jakarta in 1962, Pakistan amassed a record number of 28 medals of which seven were contributed by athletes – two golds, three silvers and two bronze.

Hon Capt. Mubarak Shah stole the show becoming first Pakistani to win two golds in Asian Games in 3000m steeplechase and 5000m. Ghulam Raziq, Mohammad Yousuf and Mohammad Nawaz clinched silver in 110m hurdles, marathon and javelin throw while Allah Ditta and Mohammad Iqbal secured bronze in pole vault and hammer throw respectively.

Hon Capt. Ghulam Raziq clinched his second gold in Asian Games as Pakistan was confined to a lone medal at the fifth Asian Games at Bangkok in 1966.

Pakistan remained goldless in the sixth Asian Games held at Bangkok in 1970 and could only bag a silver and two bronze. Mohammad Younus bagged the silver in 1500m while Norman Brinkworth and Yousuf Malik won bronze apiece in 400m hurdles and hammer throw respectively.

Pakistan again climbed on the gold medal list in the 1974 Tehran Asian Games as Mohammad Younus brought home a gold in 1500m. In addition, Nusrat Iqbal Sahi and Mohammad Siddiq won bronze in 200m and 800m.

Four years later, Younus could not retain his gold and was beaten to second slot in 1500m. The silver medal triumph followed a mark decline and barring thrice, Pakistan have failed to deliver.

To date, Pakistan have won 14golds, 13silvers and 12bronze in Asian Games track and field events.

However, it is on record that despite meagre resources, the stalwarts of yesteryears set a sporting trend with their sheer hard work.

Achievements of Pakistan athletes in Asian Games

Year Country G S B

1954 Manila 4 4 0

1958 Tokyo 5 4 4

1962 Jakarta 2 3 2

1966 Bangkok 1 0 0

1970 Bangkok 0 1 2

1974 Tehran 1 0 2

1978 Bangkok 0 1 0

1982 Delhi 0 0 0

1986 Seoul 0 0 0

1990 Beijing 1 0 1

1994 Hiroshima 0 0 1

1998 Bangkok 0 0 0

2002 Busan 0 0 0