KARACHI: Rabia Ashiq is enduring sleepless nights.
The 20-year-old athlete is gearing up to represent Pakistan at the London Olympics, courtesy a wild-card entry, and with the event fast-approaching, anxiety has taken over. Despite the enormity of the task, Rabia, who represents Wapda, is not caving in and is utilising her time by practising with her male compatriots in order to give her best at the 800m race.
Rabia said that a gold medal might just be out of her reach but is aiming to break the national record of two minutes and 8.04 seconds, which was set by her coach Bushra Parveen. “I want to run 2:02:00 at the Olympics,” Rabia told The Express Tribune. “I want to make a difference in the record books — if not at the international level then at least at the national level. I was initially a cyclist. Wapda coach Mohammad Zahid advised me to change and here I am. I can’t ever forget that moment.”
The idea of training with male runners was suggested by Parveen and the practice has helped Rabia run the 800 metres with a time of two minutes and 10.65 seconds at the Thailand Asian Grand Prix. She has had to overcome difficulties in order to pursue her dream but with the Olympics nearing, her mind is occupied with just one thing — the event. The issues, however, do not end there.
“I’d never wear tights because boys would be on the tracks as well but I’ve overcome my nervousness. Now, my biggest dream is close to being realised and while I’m excited, the feeling is accompanied by tension and anxiety. I’ll enjoy my time in London and watch all the track and field events in order to learn from the best and emulate them in the future.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2012.
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