Aisamul-Haq: 2010’s shining star
With all the highs and lows in sports this year, Aisam's achievements have marked him as a star.
To say that it was an eventful year for Pakistan sports would be an understatement. 2010 witnessed many ‘highs and lows’, ranging from the sensational spot-fixing scandal involving three of the country’s leading cricketers to a stunning title-winning triumph by our ladies in the cricket event of the Asian Games in Guangzhou.
For me the defining moment of Pakistan sports came in September when tennis ace Aisamul-Haq Qureshi marched into the men’s doubles and mixed doubles finals of the US Open.
His heroics at the Grand Slam tournament gave Pakistan’s sports fans something to cheer about after several dismal weeks in the aftermath of cricket’s spot-fixing controversy that put the limelight on Pakistani cricket for all the wrong reasons.
Aisam emerged as the brightest star for Pakistan sports in 2010 for his glorious achievements throughout the year.
This year, the 30-year old also became the first athlete to receive the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of The Year Award twice (he received the first one in 2003). He was also honoured with the President’s Sitara-e-Imtiaz and an award in London last month for his ‘Stop War, Start Tennis’ initiative.
Although Pakistan became the Asian champion in hockey, as well as in squash after a long time, the year in sports was mostly passed in misery.
Pakistan cricket’s woes started with the Tour Down Under where team lost the series. It continued with Captain Shahid Afridi’s ‘biting the ball’ incident, as well as bans and fines on players before the team lost all in all three formats against the hosts during a dismal tour of England. The spot-fixing scandal which still remains unresolved and the dubious departure of wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider from the team took Pakistan to new lows.
Amidst all this doom and gloom, Aisam proved that there is more to Pakistan sports than just cricket. It is high time Pakistan started supporting games like tennis, hockey and squash, so that we have something to fall back on if our cricketers continue to disappoint.