The Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) President Akram Sahi will be heading to the London Games aiming to build ties with top IAAF officials in order to improve Pakistan’s image.
Sahi emphasised that he is determined to help Pakistani athletes get the chance to train in countries like Kenya and Jamaica so that they can start competing in major tournaments.
“I’m heading to London with a mission to strengthen ties with the IAAF officials as well as other national’s representatives so I can request them to allow our players to train with their star athletes in specialised camps,” Sahi told The Express Tribune. He stressed that Pakistan athletics can only improve by training with top athletes on foreign soil. For distance runners, Sahi will be meeting his Kenyan counterparts to seek their help while for the sprinters he will be talking to Jamaican officials as they have produced the best sprinters in recent times.
“I’ve taken this as a challenge and will do everything I can because it could be a major breakthrough for Pakistan athletics,” he added. The two Pakistani representatives in the London Games – Liaquat Ali (100m) and Rabia Ashiq (800m) – requested him to accompany them, according to Sahi, and he will go to London on August 2 – bearing his own expenses, he added – to encourage the pair as well as witness the likes of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake in the 100m.
“Honestly speaking, I’ve been an athlete myself so I yearn to see the best athletes take on each other.”
Bolt gets all-clear from Jamaican doctor
Meanwhile, Bolt has been declared fully fit to defend his three Olympic titles, with the Jamaican team doctor insisting that the sprint king’s performance is ‘on track’.
Bolt has struggled with leg and back problems in recent weeks while world champion compatriot Blake beat him in the 100m and 200m at the Jamaican Olympic trials. But team doctor Winston Dawes said he expects Bolt to be in prime shape by the time the track and field events start on August 3.
“He’s back fully,” Dawes told the BBC. “He has been training very, very hard and his performance is on track. We expect he’ll be fully fit by the time the Olympics come around. He had some slight cramps in his legs. He had had an accident before, so that might have shaken him up a little.” (with additional input from AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.