LAHORE: Desperate to win a medal in her maiden appearance at the Special Olympics in Athens, Pakistan's youngest female cyclist, Fajar Zaheer terms her silver medal victory “the most unforgettable moment of her life.”
“I just cannot believe that I have achieved excellence in my first attempt and I feel like the luckiest person in the world and today I feel I don't have hearing and speech deficiencies,” she told APP from Athens on Thursday.
12-year-Lahore-born Fajar kept Pakistan's flag high with her impressive performance in the 1000-metre cycle race clocking two minutes and 45.20 seconds, losing the first position to Czech Republic's Denisa Kmentova, who bagged the gold medal with two minutes and 17.34 seconds as Costa Rica's Maricruz Marin clinched the third place.
Pakistan’s joy was doubled when 14-year-old Sana Javed also bagged second place in the 1000-metre race in division F02. She covered the distance in three minutes and 0.86 seconds, while Mexico's Julissa Colorado got the gold as Indian Samriti Sethi secured bronze.
“I feel really delighted and I am excited because my colleague Sana also won a silver medal,” said Fajar.
She said the victory is a result of her sheer hard work, devotion and commitment and prayers of her parents and the whole nation.
“It is a very special day of my life and I owe my success to my loving country, Pakistan,” she said in an emotional tone.
Fajar earned the unique distinction of being the youngest athlete of the 89-member Pakistani contingent taking part in the Olympics.
She said when she took up cycling as a sport two years ago, many raised their eye-brows questioning how a handicapped girl can excel in a sport which is tough and requires a lot of stamina.
But her achievements at the national level at home and now her sterling performance in Athens has endorsed her claims that hard work and undying spirit can help in achieving all uphill tasks.