“I have been with a fever, a bad throat and there are lots of disturbances, but I’ll do my best to win the medal,” Pakistan’s star weightlifter, Commonwealth Games record holder and gold medallist Muhammad Nooh Dastgir Butt said before his +109kg event at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey.
The 24-year-old has been one of the leading athletes for Pakistan as he became the first one from the country to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, creating the record in snatch with 173kgs, in clean and jerk with 232kgs and the overall record with a total of 405kgs, leaving his fellow competitors behind with a huge margin.
Nooh has also been named in the list for Pride of Performance award on August 14 and he will get the coveted medal on March 23, 2023 on Pakistan day.
Nooh came to Konya straight after his history-making performance at the Commonwealth Games and he feels the competition at the Islamic Solidarity Games will be tougher due to the countries featured here.
“The top competition here in Konya is from the weightlifter from Uzbekistan. He is an Olympic champion. Then another one from Iran, who is a world junior champion and then one from Turkmenistan, who is the Asian Champion. So my fight here is going to be very tough,” Nooh told The Express Tribune the night before the fight.
Fighting against poor conditions
Nooh has been on the go since the Commonwealth Games and the change of scene along with not the most ideal management in Konya has been troubling Nooh.
“I have been competing, as you know at Commonwealth Games, and then there was traveling and the change in weather has really affected me. I had fever, my throat was very bad and I had a runny nose since I came to Turkey. I have just gotten rid of that in the last two days, but the management here in Konya is very bad. We are not even getting our food properly, there are so many disturbances,” said Nooh.
However, he is hoping that he wins a medal, but not sure which one. “I’ll give my best in the competition. I am hoping to win a medal. I will be striving to stay in the running for the medal. I don’t know which medal but I’ll do my best. Getting a medal here, defeating any of the weightlifters here, is just equal to getting a medal in the Olympics because of the level of the competition.
“In our sport the deal is such that the countries here and the weightlifters in the event are all Olympic Champions, Asian Champions and World Champions. My goal is to give them a fight, not give up and I am hoping to do my best to draw out a medal for Pakistan.”
Nooh has been the most reliable athlete for Pakistan since 2015. He won the junior Asian Youth Championships, then Junior Commonwealth Championships and Youth Commonwealth Championships even as a teenager. He then got three bronze and two silver medals at the Commonwealth Championships from 2017 till 2021, with another bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and now in 2022, becoming the gold medallist at the Games with the most sublime performance that stunned the world.
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