After 36 years: Weightlifters compete in Olympic qualifiers

18-year-old Nooh most likely to make it to Rio

Our Correspondent April 25, 2016
Nooh, who has five gold medals to his name, is hoping to add an Olympic gold to his tally. PHOTO COURTESY: PAKISTAN WEIGHTLIFTING FEDERATION

KARACHI: Pakistan’s 18-year-old Nooh Dastgir Butt and three other weightlifters will be competing at the Olympic qualification round after 36 years, and will be leaving tomorrow for the 46th Senior Men’s Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

According to Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWF) vice-president Muhammad Rashed Malik, the men’s team will have South Asian Games gold-medallist Nooh, Usman Rathor, Abu Sufyan and Muhammad Tahir competing at the championship serving as the 2016 Rio Olympics qualification round.

Nooh will be the top weightlifter for Pakistan as the teenager is the only athlete representing the South Asian region in the super heavyweight +105 category. He is also the youngest athlete in his event.

The teenager who shoulders the expectations of a nation

“We are pinning our hopes on Nooh because he is in top form,” Rashed told The Express Tribune. “Nooh is the youngest participant in his event as well as the youngest weightlifter to ever represent Pakistan at the Olympic qualifiers.”

While Nooh can lift 360kg in snatch, clean and jerk techniques, he is expected to beat his mark and go as high up as 380kg.

Female trio hoping to make nation proud

Pakistan are sending a squad for the qualification for the first time since 1980. “This is a big deal for us,” said Rashed. “A Pakistan weightlifter hasn’t tried to qualify since the 1980 Moscow Olympics.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th,  2016.

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