ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has a lot of potential to make it big on the global rowing scene but there is minimal government support for it, says Muhammad Zubair who recently set a world record for indoor rowing.
The 32-year-old, who hails from Gujranwala, rowed for 10 hours on January 14 to set the record in Concept-II Indoor Rowing Machine in a fitness club in Islamabad where he works as a marketing executive.
“It was a great honour for me,” a beaming Zubair told The Express Tribune. “I am not a professional but I realised that I have the potential so I decided to give it a shot.”
Zubair’s moment of realisation came last year when he rowed in Faisalabad for nine hours and 28 minutes. Having achieved that, he decided to pursue the activity officially and consulted the Pakistan Rowing Federation (PRF).
The federation decided to hold a formal event last Saturday under supervision of international and national rowing umpires. Zubair began rowing at 10am and continued till 9pm to break the record of Australian Shane Usher who had continuously rowed for seven hours, 11 minutes and 22 seconds.
“I took 10 hours to create the record. I took five breaks of ten minutes each,” said Zubair.
He said he planned to continue his struggle to raise awareness about the potential of the sport and is looking to participate in international rowing events.
Urging the government to focus on the sport, he said that not only is rowing a healthy activity, it can also be made affordable through official support, encouraging many Pakistanis to set world records.
Rizwanul Haq, PRF’s secretary, agreed with Zubair. “There is no doubt that there is no dearth of talent in Pakistan but there is a dire need to provide a proper platform. The federation is committed to promoting everyone who is interested in making a record. Zubair contacted us and we organised a big event for him,” he said.