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Pakistani girl to be torch-bearer at London Olympics

Published Jun 22, 2012 08:27pm


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Zainab Imran addresses a press conference in Karachi. – Photo by AFP
Zainab Imran addresses a press conference in Karachi. – Photo by AFP

KARACHI, June 22: When young Zainab Imran puts on her running shoes on June 28, she will be doing it for her country and her people. The 16-year-old Karachi girl, a student of Nasra Trust School, Malir, will be carrying the Olympic torch as it makes its way to London.

Zainab, who has only recently done her Matric, is one of 21 people selected as torch-bearers from Azerbaijan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Palau, South Africa, Tanzania, Turkey, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Zambia through the International Inspiration programme.

The programme looks to use the power of sport to enrich the lives of tens of millions of children, young people and grown-ups, too, of all abilities in schools and communities across the world, particularly in developing countries, by offering them the opportunity to access and participate in high-quality and inclusive sport, physical education and play.

“There are young as well as older people [who have been] selected as torch-bearers through the programme and I’m the only one from Pakistan,” teenaged Zainab, who will be flying off to Nottingham on Sunday, excitedly told Dawn. “The oldest person selected as torch-bearer through the programme is a 53-year-old,” she added.

Each International Inspiration torch-bearer was selected either for their dedication and commitment to inspire children and young people in their communities through the power of sport or for the personal challenges they have overcome in their lives.

Zainab, who was nominated by the Nasra Trust School after she demonstrated strong leadership qualities, is also a member of the Young Leader of International Inspiration Club. She has taken Young Sport Leadership training and is also very active to cascade this training in her local community.

The spirited all-rounder enjoys playing netball for her school team. She has also done volunteer work as coordinator for the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), she said. “Then I regularly take part in Dawn’s Spelling Bee competitions, although I’ve yet to win it,” she chuckled. “But I got a position in the Pak-Turk Math Olympiad. I was 20th,” she said with pride.

About her selection, the young leader informed that she had to go through an entire process. “My school, as you may know, is one of British Council’s partner schools also taking part in the International Inspiration programme. So we, the students of Nasra Trust School, were given questionnaires to fill out. From there I was shortlisted for interviews, and I guess my interview must have gone pretty well because I got selected,” she remarked. The school partnerships are managed by the British Council, which has extensive experience of linking schools internationally, working in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, which utilises its expertise in developing teachers and young leaders through sport.

Asked if she has trained well for the Olympic relay, Zainab laughed, saying: “Well, I think so. Although I am not as yet sure what distance and exact route I’ll be taking. That will be disclosed to me after I reach Nottingham.”

But what she is sure of is that she will be running in an area in Nottingham, which has a big Pakistani community, who will be cheering her all the way. She would be needing that, too, as she is travelling alone to the UK, and that, also, for the very first time.


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Comments (53) Closed

Sarfaraz Khan Jun 25, 2012 04:44am
We need more people like Zainab. Godd job!
Hurt Pakistani Jun 24, 2012 10:21am
But unfortunately such assets are not well taken care of in Pakistan. I wish and pray to LORD of all the lords and KING of all the kings to guide us in a proper way (AMEEN).
habib Jun 24, 2012 11:35am Zainab
sach ki talash Jun 23, 2012 04:03pm
Happy To read it
Khan Jun 23, 2012 04:37pm
well said dear!
Irfan Qureshi Jun 23, 2012 04:48pm
Allah bless you and our country.
Sanjeevroy3 Jun 23, 2012 05:53pm
good for you little lady
shams Jun 25, 2012 01:42am
Great, Well done, Girl!!!!!!!!
Naeem Zafar Abbasi Jun 25, 2012 04:06am
well done .people like you are proud for Pakistan
Naseem Shahnawaz Jun 24, 2012 05:01pm
Very well choice, . Zainub; A little advise , please don't get over excited , need some rest, eat balance food, drink pure water and do Prayers for yourself and for the nation. Wishing you the best-Uncle Shahnawaz from USA
zainab Jun 24, 2012 10:39am
ladies of the pakistan are not less than those of other countries...they are ahead in all fields mashAllah
Syed Jun 25, 2012 09:24am
I have been here for over 4 years this is the first news, where I see happy faces as replies....thank you! We can be united....we just must try very hard!!!! Its nice to see Pakistani's supporting peace for once!
Zafar Jun 25, 2012 12:52pm
Good luck Zainab, MAy Allah grant your more successes in life.
dr asif Jun 25, 2012 11:13am
Thats nice, these are the real pakistanis, proud of you.
Chaudhry Jun 29, 2012 07:55pm
really Great, beta.all our Pakistani community in UK and all over the world proud to u and proud to be a Pakistani, this is the real face of pakistani and you have proved that Pakistani are No. 1 in all over the world except our corrupt leader, who has ruined our country You did really a good job which has raised our head. GOD Bless you, your family and all Pakistani Nation,
Yawar Jun 23, 2012 02:27pm
A flickering ray of light rises from within a sea of hardship and despair
jamshaid Jun 25, 2012 01:58am
Zainab Imran is Pakistan. We need to work hark and put our best effort to find such treasures around us. Each kid in any family in Pakistan is potentially a Zainab, Irfa, and alike so, please spend time with kids and help them to understands how to make a difference and set examples. Pakistan has a future if we make it.
Azhar Jun 23, 2012 01:14pm
the real face of Pakistan
talha Jun 23, 2012 12:49pm
good job :)
ifti Jun 23, 2012 12:45pm
hats off.....well don......God Bless Pakistan
usama Jun 25, 2012 06:29am
Qadoos Jun 25, 2012 12:39pm
i proud you baby
Felix Jun 24, 2012 09:16pm
We are proud of you - Keep the Pakistan Flag high. God Bless.
Hamid Abbasi Jun 24, 2012 09:01pm
Vi-Va .......Zainab Be good & do good. May ALLAH be with you always. Hamid Abbasi
singh(sydney) Jun 24, 2012 10:01am
shabash mere puttar !! media has responsibility for showing the stories of ordinary people....not the corrupt politicians always !
HAMMAD Jun 26, 2012 09:15am
Jean Verlander Jun 24, 2012 06:26am
Welcome to England, delighted to have you here
Adnan Jun 24, 2012 06:22am
You go Girl!!!
Amir Jun 24, 2012 06:14am
aslam nayani Jun 24, 2012 08:47am
congratulation zaineb,you,youngters are the future assets and leaders of pakistan.May God bless you,
Irum Rashid Jun 24, 2012 12:50pm
God Bless You little lady... you are the pride of Nasra School... PAKISTAN Zinabad.. NASRA School Paindabad..
Ahmer Choudhry Jun 24, 2012 12:45pm
congratulations, well done. Behave well. Represent Pakistan its proud women values. Keep up the good work and hope that you have many many more success, amin.
Shafiq Jun 24, 2012 01:16pm
I'll be there to welcome you. Insha'llah
K. M. Nawaz Jun 24, 2012 01:02pm
Great. Selection of a teenage girl leading Pak delegation is so pleasing.
NKhan Jun 24, 2012 12:34am
Good luck and good job. Wish you all the best.
sarwan kumar Jun 24, 2012 04:16am
nice job. GOD bless on her and on my PAk.
Mr. Mirza Jun 24, 2012 04:25am
True ! this is real face of Pakistan. I congratulate young lady. Hope that International Media show the true picture of Pakistan instead of terrorism which is never been our baby ...
nasr Jun 24, 2012 04:28am
thank God,at last I have a good news from Pakistan..ZINDA ABAD MY PAKISTAN
lhlh Jun 24, 2012 05:59pm
now i really hate asif , amir and salman , thank you media
JavedSafdar Jun 24, 2012 08:02am
Bravo Young Lady. I feel really proud of you. Allah Bless You Always Beta. Aameen.
Dr Wequar Ali Khan Jun 25, 2012 12:24pm
Its another face of real Pakistan, i am sure if government wants to hunt talents in this country there is no dearth of it. It can be discovered throughout the country.
Asim Jun 25, 2012 04:20am
Good on you .
Pramod Jun 25, 2012 05:32am
Really well for Her and Pakistan . Hope she ll inspire other Pakistani's to encourage their daughter/ Sister to compete in different fields.
Mrs. Munim Jun 25, 2012 05:37am
Go, girl. I hope you have a fabulous run.
Shahid78 Jun 25, 2012 07:09am
Congratulations Zainab.
Humble One Jun 25, 2012 11:28pm
Congratulations Young One. Lead by heart. Inspiration, goodwill and hard work.
sahba Jun 26, 2012 02:48am
So nice to see a Pakistani name with respect otherwise these politicians have degraded our nation.U go girl!
MS NAHEED Jun 26, 2012 02:04pm
uzma Jun 26, 2012 06:57am
God Bless you...Allah bless you with success my sis !!!
Fauzia Khawaja Jun 26, 2012 07:11am
Well done young lady, make us proud.
Habib Jun 26, 2012 08:11am
GO on Zainab, Make us proud, the nation is with you. YOU ARE PAKISTAN!!!
B.Ally Jun 26, 2012 08:37am
Great opportunity coming your way zainab. Celebrate and cherish it. Tell others that when we interact with international community doors start opening. The link of your school with British Council made it happen so my countrymen and women start making a link.
Raana Irfan Jun 27, 2012 12:23pm
Zaiab ,It is very encouraging that a young girl of Pakistan will carry the light-the light of hope from a country blanketed with disappointments of all sorts.I wish you best of luck.