KARACHI: Despite grabbing two bronze medals in the Asian Grand Prix last month, Zeenat Parveen will not be able to represent Pakistan at the London Olympics, according to the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) President Akram Sahi.
Parveen became the first female athlete from Pakistan to bag a medal at the Asian meet but her efforts fell short of the Olympics requirement, according to Sahi.
“Parveen doesn’t have a chance to make it to London because she didn’t meet the criteria set by the IOC in order to be eligible,” Sahi told The Express Tribune. “She did well for Pakistan and she shouldn’t lose hope. Instead, she should keep working hard to bring more laurels for the nation.”
Meanwhile, Sahi remained upbeat over the prospects of Pakistan’s athletics entries at the Olympics – 100m sprinter Liaqat Ali and 800m runner Rabia Ashiq – while hoping that the two register its personal bests and create national records. He warned people not to expect medals from Liaqat and Rabia because participating in the Olympics was itself a great achievement for them. Besides, added Sahi, they will be competing with the world’s best.
Liaqat, 27, was unable to grab a medal in the Asian Grand Prix while Rabia only managed to improve on her personal best by 10 seconds in Thailand. Sahi, though, believes that Liaqat has the potential to register a 10.30 with ease.
“I’ve been expecting big things from Liaqat but he hasn’t lived up to the expectations in the last two tournaments and that is hugely disappointing. But I still believe he will come good at the biggest stage of them all. On the other hand, Rabia has done well and she’ll improve.”
While the Olympics are less than two months away now, the federation’s official training camp is yet to begin. The AFP president also confirmed that the squad will depart with the rest of the contingent as lack of funds will prohibit them from sending their athletes for acclimatisation and training in advance.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2012.
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