Friday, November 12, 2010

Pakistan urged to pull up their socks as the Asian Games begin

The Chinese city of Guangzhou is all-set for the Asian Games that kicks off today. PHOTO: AFP
KARACHI: Pakistan athletes have been urged to pull up their socks to improve on their Doha performance as the 16th edition of the Asian Games kicks off today in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
Pakistan put up an ordinary show in the 2006 Asian Games where the athletes managed a solitary silver and two bronze medals. The athletes came up with an improved performance in the Commonwealth Games (CWG) held in New Delhi last month with two gold medals, one silver and a couple of bronze medals.
However, the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) remains unsatisfied with the athletes’ show in New Delhi and asked them to lift their performance if they want to win maximum medals in the event, continental fiesta, rated as second biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics.
“We’re not satisfied with the results as we could’ve done much better in the CWG,” POA Chairman Arif Hasan told The Express Tribune. “The athletes need to put an improved show if they are to win medals here in China.”
Huge contingent
Pakistan will be represented in the Asian Games by a contingent boasting 237 athletes and officials that will contest in 17 disciplines including baseball, snooker, boxing, hockey, judo, kabaddi, karate, sailing, shooting, squash, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling, wushu, cricket (men and women) and football. Despite his displeasure over the CWG results, the POA chief still believed that Pakistan have potential to bag medals in few events at the Games.
“The hockey team disappointed us but we’re still hoping for a medal from them,” said Hasan. Pakistan finished sixth last month but the Greenshirts are in dire need of a gold medal this time as a top finish will confirm their participation in the 2012 London Olympics.
Hopes from shooting, tennis
Meanwhile, the POA chief felt that the shooting team that failed miserably in the CWG also had the potential to win medals for the country.
“Shooting was a complete failure in India but they have the ability to win medals like they did in the past,” added Hasan while defending tennis and sailing representatives who also returned empty-handed from India. “We got a tough draw in tennis. In sailing, a lot depends on the conditions which did not go in our favour.”
The POA chief, however, maintained that Azhar Hussain who clinched a gold and silver last month remained Pakistan’s main hope of a medal.
“We’re hoping for a medal from Hussain but we don’t want to pressurise him. The Asian Games are tougher and it will be difficult for him to repeat his performance. Same goes for boxing due to the presence of central Asian countries.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2010.

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