KARACHI: Pakistan’s Liaqat Ali failed to qualify for the main round of men’s 100 metre sprint in London on Saturday, but finished the preliminary round ranked 15th among the 29 athletes.
Liaqat, who is Pakistan’s sole track and field athletes among men, finished fourth in his preliminary heats in 10.90 seconds. He was 0.45 seconds behind leader Jurgen Themen of Suriname.
Themen and Fernando Lumain of Indonesia qualified from the group of seven athletes in the heat.
Liaqat’s reaction time was measured at 0.169 seconds.
Before setting off for London, Liaqat had hoped to qualify for the final round of the 100m races in order to race against Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay.
Liaqat achieved Pakistan’s record of 10.10 seconds last year – a far cry from the world record of 9.58 seconds set by Jamaica’s Bolt at the World Athletics championship in Germany in August 2009, and the 9.69 achieved by United States’ Gay a month later.
“I like Gay’s style of running and that’s why he is my favourite,” Liaqat had said, who remembers meeting the US star at the 2009 World meet, where he finished 61st in the heats, clocking a disappointing 10.64 seconds.
Liaqat comes from the small town of Renala Khurd in central Punjab province and is a soldier in the army’s sports department
Beating the odds, Ali won silver in the 100m relay at the South Asian Athletics Championship in India in 2008 and bronze in the 100 and 200 metres at the South Asian Federation Games in Dhaka two years ago.
In the Asian championship in Japan last year he was disqualified after a false start.