Military-facilitated training helps Pakistani shooters reach Rio Olympics

Published: August 4, 2016
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Ghulam Mustafa Bashir,29, and Minhal Sohail, 21, will both compete in shooting events at the Games. PHOTO: REUTERS

Ghulam Mustafa Bashir,29, and Minhal Sohail, 21, will both compete in shooting events at the Games. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Two members of the small Pakistani contingent participating at the Rio Olympics have the military to thank for much of their training.

Ghulam Mustafa Bashir, a 29-year-old Navy Marine, and Minhal Sohail, a 21-year-old university student, will both compete in shooting events at the Games.

No Pakistani qualifies for Rio 2016 Olympics

Bashir will participate in the 25-metre rapid fire pistol event for men, while Sohail will compete in the women’s 10-metre air rifle event.

Both sharp shooters trained with the Pakistan Navy, and Sohail is the daughter of a naval officer. Sohail got her start in shooting at a Navy summer camp in her hometown of Karachi and has since participated in numerous Asian championships.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in Olympics,” she said.

Ghulam Mustafa Bashir aims his pistol during a practice session at the Pakistan Navy Shooting Range in Karachi. PHOTO: REUTERS

Bashir said he only started competitive marksmanship in 2010 when he joined the Navy team.

Amir Khan decides against representing Pakistan in Rio Olympics

“Pakistan Navy is making a great effort to promote shooting in Pakistan. Navy was the first to introduce electronic targets, and since then, we have made great improvement,” Bashir told Reuters as he practised before leaving for Rio.

The military training is necessary because Pakistan’s government and private sports structure has weakened.

Pakistan’s sporting decline has left a nation that once prided itself on producing the world’s top hockey and squash players facing up to an Olympics for which none of its athletes have qualified.

The seven participants representing the country at the Rio Games have all been given wildcard entries and stand ‘no chance’ of winning medals, according to Arif Hasan, the Pakistan Olympic Association president.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Pakistani
    Aug 4, 2016 - 2:04PM

    Good Luck GuysRecommend

  • ishrat salim
    Aug 4, 2016 - 2:52PM

    Pakistan Olympic Association should be closed if they cannot patronize our people to participate. Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Aug 4, 2016 - 3:39PM

    Aoa!
    That girl minhal sohail is not a wild card entry as far as I know…I am not confirmed about that other shooter I think both shooters have qualified for the games.Recommend

  • Aug 6, 2016 - 1:36PM

    All sports boards shuold give in army control because our civil government is incapable to fo any thing regarding to sports development even we are gonig in backward direction.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav
    Aug 7, 2016 - 1:45AM

    @Ahmed:
    All Pakistani athlete are WCE. None of them qualified. Recommend

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