ISLAMABAD            -         Pakistan’s Haroon Khan, Rab Nawaz and Muhammad Naeem won gold medals on the fifth day of the 13th South Asian Games 2019, currently underway in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Talking to The Nation from Nepal, Haroon said: “I am grateful to Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTWF) President Lt Col (R) Col Wasim Ahmed Janjua, who gave me limelight, managed my expenses and looked after me well. It was Wasim’s unconditional trust in my abilities, which helped me in winning the medal for the country. I dedicate my gold medal to Wasim, people of Pakistan and especially our armed forces, as sports returned to Pakistan because of their sacrifices.

“I also want to thank Chief Minister Balochistan Umar Saeeed, who always helps the players like me, PTWF Patron Lt Gen (R) Javed Iqbal, Secretary Murtaza Hassan Bangash, Korean government and embassy in Islamabad and other supporters. The 12-day training in Korea made a huge difference in me and helped me in winning the medal in -58kg. I am hopeful that the federation will send me abroad for further training with the support of government and especially IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza. Trainings will help me fulfill my dream of representing the country in Olympics,” he added.

Sharing his views, Rab Nawaz, who won gold medal in -80kg, said: “I want to thank PTWF President Col Waism and coach Master Han. Han has completely transformed us and managed to remove major flaws from our techniques in such a short span of time. Waism had worked on us by spending hours and treated us like his own sons and daughters, which resulted in better results of Pak athletes at international level. We cannot even think of losing Master Han and I request the government and IPC Minister to immediately release Han’s salary.”

PTF President Wasim said: “We have managed to give the country three gold, six silver and eight bronze medals so far with limited resources. I hope the IPC Minister will provide more facilities to the federation and athletes for bringing more laurels for the country.”

Sprinter Naeem managed to win gold medal in 110m hurdles and Saab-e-Asra won bronze medal in 400 meters, while Pakistan women team beat Maldives 32-27 and Pakistan men team defeated Nepal 43-19 in the handball events. Pakistan is currently at fourth place in the medals table with 12 gold, 19 silvers and 22 bronze medals. Indians have grabbed top slot with 50 gold, 35 silver and 18 bronze medals, followed by Nepal with 35 gold, 23 silver and 33 bronze medals and Bangladesh with 13 gold, 30 silver and 49 bronze medals.

Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) President Maj Gen (R) M Akram Sahi, while talking to The Nation, congratulated all the athletes, who won medals for the country. “I congratulate the IPC Minister for her efforts for sports and athletes. I must say that her presence in Nepal was highly motivational for our players. This way of motivation must continue in future, as presence of a minister always gives huge encouragement to the federations and athletes.”