On Saturday, Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem almost bagged an Olympic medal in the final of men's javelin throw competition but ended up finishing fifth, whereas India's Neeraj Chopra claimed gold. Similarly, weight lifting champion Talha Talib fell two kilograms short of history at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on July 25.
Thus, several have taken to Twitter in the past week to urge Pakistan’s relevant authorities and sports associations to support and pay extra attention to athletes and sportsmen like Nadeem and Talib, so their talents can be honed. Among these people was actor Adnan Siddiqui, who took to Twitter to share the tragic example of the late Olympian-turned-rickshaw driver Muhammad Ashiq, who passed away in Lahore in 2018 after being ignored and let down by his own country.
“The hypocrisy of making them heroes when they bring medals and leaving them to live a life of misery,” lamented Siddiqui on the micro-blogging site with a picture of the late cyclist who had to resort to driving a rikshaw after retiring. “These champs are our pride, our responsibility. Take care of our stars!” he added.
Ashiq competed in the Rome Olympics in 1960 in the Men's sprint 1,000m time trial at the age of 25. Four years later, in the Tokyo Olympics, he participated in the individual pursuit 4,000m and team pursuit 4,000m event. Although he did not win any Olympic medals, Ashiq did win laurels at the Asian Games. He also represented Pakistan Railways at national competitions before retiring from the sport.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan ironically shared a motivational TikTok video on Twitter for the athletes of the country, despite TikTok being banned in Pakistan. And naturally, many felt he could do more than provide motivation.
میں چاہتا ہوں کہ ہمارے پاکستانی نوجوان یہ دوڑ دیکھیں اور اس میں سے وہ اہم ترین سبق حاصل کریں جو کھیل نے مجھے سکھایا ہے کہ: "آپ ہارتے تبھی ہیں جب آپ کوشش ترک کردیتے ہیں"۔— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 8, 2021
The same day, actor Mehwish Hayat also tweeted saying, “I hope that Arshad Nadeem’s success provides the ‘catalyst’ we need to invest in our talent. This needs to start in schools where sports need to be made an integral part of the curriculum. This cannot – like everything else – be a flash in the pan. Time to seize the moment!”
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