ISLAMABAD  -   Army’s Uzair made huge a upset on the inaugural day of the 49th National Athletics Championship 2018 (Men & Women), as he shocked three-time national champion Wapda’s Muhammad Gohar to win the 100m gold here at Jinnah Stadium, Pakistan Sports Complex on Friday.

Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi graced the opening ceremony as chief guest. Although he was a bit late due to his official commitments, yet he stayed there for quite a while and watched athletes displaying their skills in truly remarkable fashion. Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) President Maj Gen (R) Muhammad Akram Sahi, HI (M), SI (M), Secretary M Zafar and Islamabad Athletics Association (IAA) President Brig (R) Sultan Satti, who is also chairman of organising committee, Pakistan Sports Board Acting Director General Khaqan Babar and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.

In 100m race, where three-time national champion M Gohar of Wapda was hot favourite to win gold, Army’s Uzair surprised all and clinched gold with best time of 10.66. Gogar earned silver with time of 10.77.

In 5000m race, Rameez Javed Mirza of Army won gold, Soahil Amir of Wapda silver and M Naveed of Army bronze. In 10,000m women race, Rabia Ashir of Wapda won gold, Farhat Bano of Wapda silver and Sumeria Ghafoor of Army bronze. In women javelin throw, Fatima Hussain of Wapda won gold, Nabeela Riaz of Army silver and Amina Bano of Wapda bronze.

In women pole vault, Sidra Bashir of Army won gold, Mehnaz Bibi of Army silver and Misbah Yousaf of Wapda bronze. In 800m race, Rabia Ashiq of Wapda won another gold, Samibia Naureen of Wapda silver and Aneela Gulzar of HEC bronze. In women shot put, Zeenat Parveen of Wapda won gold, Qandeel Anayat of Army silver and Mehnoor Dogar of Punjab bronze.

In men triple jump, M Waqas of Wapda won gold, M Nouman Javed of Army silver and Abdullah Hussian of Army bronze. In triple jump women, Maria Maratab, national champion of Army, won gold, Amna Saraj of Wapda silver and Nazish of HEC bronze. In 800m men, M Ikram of Wapda won gold, Waqas Akbar of Army silver and Mazhar Ali of Army bronze.

Although the Jinnah Stadium was in shambles as recently IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza allowed motorbikes stunts on the tattan track and despite lapse of two weeks, the stadium is still recovering from the aftermaths. The bricks were still all over the place despite Agha Amjedullah and his team doing good job of ensuring maximum repair, the venue is still not in a good shape to conduct such a mega event, considering the fact that South Asian Games and other mega events are just round the corner and any untoward incident to top athletes could spell disaster for not only the athletes, but also the country will suffer chances of winning international medals.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest said: “Our athletes must focus on winning international medals instead of national ones. The athletes must safeguard their body and must ensure their fitness levels, as the standard of international sports is sky high.

“Success can only be achieved through sheer hard work, passion, dedication and discipline. Our athletes used to win gold medals in hockey, cricket, squash and other sports but now they lack hard work and passion to achieve such feats. It’s true we are far behind in better infrastructure and facilities than other nations, but now we are improving and providing world class facilities to our athletes and they must not waste their talent and try to excel at every given stage.

“I am very happy to see athletes in such a number and credit goes to Gen Sahi and his team for putting up remarkable show. I am a sportsman and my doors are always open for all. You all must feel free to come and meet me and I will try to provide every possible assistance,” he added.