KARACHI: Liaquat Ali never wished to feature in the Olympics but the wild-card handed to him is an ‘unknown dream that is nearing its fulfilment’.
Liaquat and Rabia Ashiq will turn out on the tracks for Pakistan in London but the former has already complained of lack of training facilities ahead of the Asian Grand Prix Series in Thailand from May 8.
“I never thought I’ll feature in the Olympics and still can’t believe that I will be an Olympian,” Liaquat, who will feature in the 100 metres sprint, told The Express Tribune.
“The happiness and the pride, I can’t describe it. The aim is to prepare to the best of my ability since it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
“But, it’s a shame that the federation has not set up a camp for the Thailand event. We will represent Pakistan but are training in an individual capacity.”
Apart from Liaquat and Rabia (800m), Farhan Ahmed (800m) and Zeenat Parveen (shot put) form Pakistan’s squad for the grand prix series. Liaquat is currently training with an Army coach Maqsood Ahmed, a former international athlete.
“I am eyeing a medal in Thailand, at least a bronze but I know I have the potential to stun some of the big names,” added Liaquat who was dragged into the sport by his coaches after inducting himself in the army.
It took him three years to win his first international medal – a silver in the South Asian Athletics Championship in India – and in his bid to win more, Liaquat wants assistance from the authorities in time for the Olympics.
“Indian and Sri Lankan athletes are getting training in Jamaica with top professionals while we are restricted to our own backyard.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2012.