Friday, July 2, 2010

Ladies First – Pakistani Sportswomen to Reckon with

Remember Sania? Remember Shoaib? Well of course you do, who doesn’t. But don’t worry; I am not going to talk about them here. The personal lives of our cricket team have been deliberated more than necessary as it is. Rest assured I am not to indulge in any more petty gossip about them. The only reason I mention Shoaib & Sania is that at the time of their upcoming nuptials, there was considerable discussion going on about whether Sania would change her national representation. She is a world-class player indubitably and would be a great asset. But she also has a strong sense of patriotism, and she emphatically declared that her loyalties would always lie with India and an Indian tennis player she would remain forever.
Obviously many felt a personal offence at this declaration. Vey absurd of course—wouldn’t we have wanted the same attitude if the situation had been reversed? Well anyways, the best of wishes to Sania Mirza. She is a world-class player, and even though Pakistan doesn’t have any woman to match her in the sport of tennis, it surely does not lack in women sports stars. Here is a list—and by no means an exhaustive one—of some women who have earned great pride for our nation.
Shabana Akhtar (born April 5, 1972) appeared on the Pakistan National Athletics scene in 1989 when she became the national champion in 100M and 200M. She also became the national champion in 4×100M Relay, 4×400 Relay, 400M, long jump and high jump during 1992 and maintains her record even today. She won a total number of 42 gold medals.
She is also the first Pakistani female athlete to participate at the Olympics, when she competed in the women’s long jump at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Naseem Hamid comes from an impoverished slum in Pakistan’s biggest city of Karachi. The 22-year-old became South Asia’s fastest woman by winning the 100-metre in the 11th South Asian Federation Games (SAF) in Dhaka on February 8th 2010. She clocked 11.81 seconds to clinch gold in the 100-metre sprint, becoming Pakistan’s first female athlete to win the race in the competition’s 26-year history.
Naseem Hamid & Sara Nasir
Sara Nasir (born July 18th, 1990) belongs to a small village in a Tehsil of Rawalpindi. She is currently a B.Com student. She took training in martial arts from army coach Riaz and became a participant in the Under 55kg weight category at the 11th SAF games and returned with a gold medal in Karate.
Our so-called head of state appointed gold-winning Pakistan women athletes Naseem Hamid and Sara Nasir sports ambassadors to honour their extraordinary success.
“President Zardari has appointed Naseem and Sara as ‘ambassadors of sports’ in recognition of their successes at the SAF Games and gave them one million rupees (11,777 dollars) each,” Sports Minister Ijaz Jakhrani told reporters.
Kiran Baloch - Cricketer
Kiran Baloch (born February 23rd, 1978) is a Right-hand batswoman from Karachi. She is the record holder of the highest individual score in the international game. She scored a 242 in the first cricket Test against the West Indies at the National Stadium.
Anmaar Habib is a 20-year old Pakistani who lives and trains in the mountains of Northern California, at Sugar Bowl, an exclusive ski academy. Anmaar is the first women skier to represent Pakistan at an international level and she is now training for 2010 winter Olympics.
Anmaar Habib - Skier
“I want to be the first person, as well as the first woman,” responding to those she encounters who wonder about a Pakistani skier—let alone a female Pakistani skier.
Carla Khan (born August 18th, 1981) in London, is from the great line of squash champions, her grandfather being Azam Khan, great uncle Hashim Khan known as the godfather of squash. She started playing squash in England at age 12. In her early life, her father Wasil Khan (a junior world champion) coached her in squash. She represented England and was a top junior player having won various junior titles including being European junior number one.  At the age of 19 she changed to represent Pakistan, Carla then made history as she was the first female from the direct line of champions to pursue a career in the game.
Carla Khan - Squash
She has won five titles in her career, which are: El Salvador Open 2002, Ottawa Open 2003, Pakistan Open 2005 and Iranian Open 2007 and Austrian Open in 2008. Her highest ranking has been 21st.
Through her achievements she gained media coverage around the world and has been recognized as the Squash Queen of Pakistan
Rubab Raza - Swimmer
Rubab Raza (born January 15, 1991) is a Pakistani swimmerfrom Lahore. She has won a number of national titles, and has seen success at Asian swimming tournaments. She also became the youngest sportswoman to represent Pakistan in any Olympics event when she took part in the 2004 Olympics at the age of 13. She won a wild card entry for the 2004 Olympics due to her performances in swimming championships around the world.
Kiran Khan (born December 21st, 1989) is a swimmingchampion from Lahore. She has represented Pakistan on many International forums namely Asian games at a very young age.
Kiran Khan - Swimmer
Kiran Khan has swum for the Pakistani team in the Asian Games as well as the Commonwealth Games, in addition to several other international swimming meets including the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Khan has been quite successful at the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games, which are now known simply as the South Asian Games. These are competed in by the eight member nations of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation. Khan has picked up as many as 16 medals in just two editions of the Games.
Khan won six silver and two bronze medals at Islamabad 2004 and another two silver and six bronze at Colombo 2006.

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