Pakistan wrapped up their 2010 Asian Beach Games campaign by winning six medals as the second edition of the Games ended in Muscat on Friday.
Pakistan continued their impressive run at the Games by bagging four silver and two bronze medals in the Omani capital.
Having entered the finals of the kabaddi, handball and tent-pegging team events, Pakistan ended up with silver medals in all three. Meanwhile, their other three medals came from the individual events of sailing (bronze) and tent-pegging (two silvers). Bodybuilding was the only discipline where the Pakistani athletes were unable to secure a podium finish.
Kabaddi The 2010 Asian Beach Games kabaddi gold-medal match was a replay of the 2008 final, as Pakistan took on traditional rivals India. The result of the final was also the same, as India came out on top with a 32-27 win in a closely-contested match.
Up until the final, Pakistan maintained an impressive record as they swept aside their opponents in the preliminary stages. Pakistan beat Afghanistan (65-9), Iran (50-30) and Indonesia (55-17) on their way to the semi-final, where they beat hosts Oman with a 41-30 score.
Pakistan, who were in the ascendancy in the first half, were unable to maintain the advantage and ended the half on 18-16.
“In the first period, we purposely allowed Pakistan to score more than us – it was a part of our strategy,” India’s coach M. Soman said after the match.
India’s performance improved drastically in the second half, as they sailed to a 32-27 win over their arch-rivals.
Handball Gold-medal winners at the Bali Games, Pakistan faced their 2008 opponents Kuwait once again in the beach handball final. This time around, Kuwait were able to avenge their defeat in a straight-sets win against a much stronger Pakistan side. The final score of the match was Kuwait 2-0 Pakistan (20-14, 14-12).
“Pakistan has the best offence but is weak in defence…whenever you are able to make them score less, you win,” Kuwaiti player Jafar was quoted as saying by the official event website (www.muscat2010.org).
Pakistan’s exploits in the tournament were impressive as they enjoyed straight-sets wins in three of their four preliminary round matches. Pakistan scored wins over Indonesia (24-18, 24-8), Jordan (19-16, 20-18) and Afghanistan (24-11, 23-13), while they lost to Thailand (12-15, 17-18) in their last preliminary-round match.
In the semi-final, Pakistan won against Oman with a 2-1 score (18-20, 15-14, 8-6).
The losing finalists, however, were not content with the silver-medal finish. “We won gold in Bali and we came here to get first place because we are playing for our country. We did not want second place,” Pakistan’s Muhammad Atif said after the match.
Pakistan enjoyed considerable support from the Pakistani diaspora based in Muscat, but were unable to use that and their gold-medal-winning squad from 2008 to their advantage.
Sailing Pakistan won their first sailing medal of the Asian Beach Games, when Najeeb Ullah Khan won bronze in the Radial Open Laser event on Monday, December 13. Pakistan had sent a five-member sailing team to Muscat.
Tent-pegging Pakistan’s four-man tent-pegging squad (Amer Munawar, Qamar-uz-Zaman Khan, Shahbaz Qamar, Haroon Bandial) were able to win three silver medals between them after failing to win a single medal at the 2008 Games.
Pakistan’s team silver came in the Lance category, while the two other individual medals were also won in the same category. Shahbaz Qamar won the individual Lance silver medal, while Amer Munawar won bronze in the same category.