KARACHI: Pakistan’s wild-card sprinter Liaquat Ali, who is hoping to race against Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay, aims to give the world’s fastest men a run for their money at the Olympics.
Liaquat is Pakistan’s sole track representative in the men’s draw for the Olympics and while he holds the national record – a 10.10 last year – he knows he needs to improve considerably to challenge the world record of 9.58 set by Bolt.
“I hope I get a chance to be in the same heat as Bolt or Gay, it’s one of my biggest dreams,” said the 27-year-old. “I like Gay’s style of running and that’s why he is my favourite.”
Ali met Bolt at the 2009 World Championship where the Pakistani finished 61st in the heats, clocking a disappointing 10.64 seconds. However, he was part of the Pakistan side that won silver in the 2008 South Asian Athletics Championship’s 100m relay. He also won bronze in the 100m and 200m at the 2010 SAF Games.
Ali’s coach, Maqsood Ahmed, said that the athlete has the potential to better his national record at the Olympics.
“Ali has worked really hard to get ready for the Olympics,” said Ahmed. “The competition in London will be very tough, so his main aim is to improve the national record.”
Meanwhile, the Athletics Federation of Pakistan’s President Akram showed his frustration over the ‘blackmailing’ tactics of the Pakistan Olympics Association President Arif Hasan, accusing him of bringing a bad name to the country.
Hasan recently said in a press conference that Pakistan may still be banned fro taking part in the Olympics by the governing body over government interference.
“Hasan is blackmailing the country and is more interested in saving his own seat,” Sahi told The Express Tribune. “By giving such interviews to the media, he is sending out the wrong signals to get Pakistan into trouble.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2012.