Early on Wednesday morning, news arrived from Rio de Janeiro that American swimmer Michael Phelps has won his 20th and 21st Olympic gold, which is the most by any athlete in the Games’ history.
While achieving this honour, statistics prove that if he had been listed as a country, he would be the 39th most successful in the history of the Olympic Games.
While Phelps has 25 Olympic — 21 gold — medals in total, a country of more than 200 million people has so far won just 10 medals in its sporting history at Olympics. Three of those are golds — all won by the hockey team, with the last one coming in at the 1984 Games.
We have to go at least 24 years back to 1992, when Pakistan last won a medal in the world’s biggest multi-sporting event, where the hockey team won a bronze medal after beating Netherlands 4-3.
And it is no surprise that Pakistan’s hockey team — usually the country’s strongest side in Olympics — failed to qualify for the Games for the first time in their history, coinciding with the overall downfall of sports in the nation. The prevalent system fuels the stranglehold of officials instead of promoting and producing athletes, and perhaps that’s why the world’s sixth largest country by population sent its smallest ever contingent at the Olympics, which included just seven athletes and 17 officials.
Pakistani athletes in Rio Olympics 2016:
Lianna Swan (Swimming)
Shah Hussain Shah (Judo)
Najima Parveen (Athletics)
Haris Bandey (Swimming)
Mehboob Ali (Athletics)
Minhal Sohail (Shooting)
Ghulam Mustafa Bashir (Shooting)