ISLAMABAD         -       Pakistani karate players on Wednesday displayed superb skills and techniques and helped the country grab third slot in the ongoing 13th South Asian Games being held in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Pakistan is currently at third position with 8 gold, 15 silver and 13 bronze medals, while hosts Nepal is occupying top position followed by mighty Indians in the second place. Overall, Pakistani karate athletes managed to grab six gold medals so far in the event. On the fourth day, Noman Ahmed won gold medal in -50kg, while Pakistan female karate team consisting of Nargis, Kulsoom, Sana Kausar and Sabira also clinched gold medal in team event.

Talking to The Nation, Kulsoom Hazara, who also won silver medal in -55kg category, said: “It was our tough training for the last couple of months, which ensured such feats for us. I want to thank Pakistan Karate Federation for continuous support and IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza, who was present in Nepal, to encourage us to earn more and more for the country. We are hopeful that Dr Mirza will further help us in getting long training camps, as mega events are coming thick and fast. We just need government support to fulfill our ambitions, as we always play for the country and try to deliver for it.”

While Pakistan’s men’s tennis team had to settle for silver medal after losing the final against archrivals India, while Pakistani female team won bronze medal after losing semifinals against Sri Lanka. Pakistani team had defeated Sri Lanka and Bhutan in the earlier matches, but in the final, they lost to India 0-2. In the first singles, Muzammil Murtaza fought his heart out before losing 1-2 against Sri Ram Balaji Narayanaswarny. Muzammil won the first set 6-4, before losing the second and third with same margin of 3-6. Pakistan’s longest serving No 1 Aqeel Khan lost to Saketh Myneni in straight sets.

Talking to The Nation from Nepal, Aqeel said: “The fast courts were highly suiting Myneni, who was playing best tennis of his life. I don’t want to take anything away from Myneni, but it was reality and it was his day. I did try to put some fight, but due to the pace of hard courts, I couldn’t manage to control my serves and lost 2-6 and 2-6.”

Pakistani women’s team lost semifinal against Sri Lanka. In the first match, young tennis sensation Mahin Aftab Qureshi played wonderfully well and lost to Anika Seneviratne 4-6, 4-6 in two close sets, whereas Ushna lost to Anjalika Kurera 4-6, 6-2, 4-6 after a tough battle. The individual events (singles, doubles and mixed doubles) will take place today (Thursday).

Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) President Salim Saifullah and entire management extended their felicitations to the Pakistani teams on winning the medals, with the hope that they will win more medals in the upcoming individual/doubles events.

Pakistani athletes also excelled in other sports, as Uzair Rehman lived up to his words and won gold medal in 200 meter race by completing the distance in 21:15 seconds, while Najma Perveen won silver in 200m in 21.15 seconds and Shams-ul-Haq bagged bronze medal in discuss throw. Talking to The Nation, Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) President Maj Gen (R) M Akram Sahi said: “Although I was expecting more gold medals, yet if I realistically look at the ground realities and the way our athletes didn’t get much time for training, I think they did remarkable job. Other teams trained well in the long camps with the best facilities and I want same for our athletes so that they may also excel at international events.”

Rabia Kabir won bronze medal in 25 meter pistol individual shooting event, while in taekwondo, Pakistani athletes managed to win three more silver and two bronze medals. Waqar Ali earned silver medal, Jabran Asad Khan silver, Aneila Ayesha silver while Mahmood Khan and Zoya Sabir bronze medals.

Sharing his views, Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTWF) President Lt Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Janjua said: “I am not satisfied from these results, but the fact is that we not only lack proper equipment but also we couldn’t manage proper training camps for our players. But even then our athletes are doing remarkable job. Master Han is working with great guns and making huge difference. I am sure the IPC Minister will provide latest equipment to us, as G1 event is very close and we need to train our athletes on modern lines, which is not possible without proper equipments.”