Olympics: Fasting or training, ponder athletes

Sprinter Liaquat, 800m runner Rabiya leave for London today.

Nabeel Hashmi July 24, 2012


The last batch of Pakistani athletes for the 2012 Olympics – sprinter Liaquat Ali and 800m runner Rabiya Ashiq - will leave for London today, caught between the importance of fasting and dreams of Olympics glory.

Liaquat had been fasting during the last few training sessions but will now need to balance the situation in a beneficial manner.

“It’s a tricky situation because there’s Ramazan and the Olympics are taking place and it’s very hard to choose between the two,” Ali told The Express Tribune before confirming that he will fast for as many days as he can while continuing light training to keep him in good shape. However, the sprinter will need to skip a fast on August 4 if he qualifies from the preliminary round.

“I just want to give my best for the country.”

The national 100m champion wants a repeat performance of his 10.15 seconds which, according to him, can take him into the semis.

Meanwhile, the pair will be accompanied by coach Bushra Parveen who is the national 800m record holder.

“Just being at the Olympics will be the biggest moment of my life and i want to savour each second of this prestigious event,” said Perveen. “At the same time, I don’t want to get carried away because I have the duty to keep the athletes’ head straight so that we focus on our goal instead of being distracted and overwhelmed by the occasion.”

She hoped that her student Rabiya will break her record in London, hoping the feat can bring more female athletes into the sport.

“I had to face a lot of hardships in my career just became I’m a girl. But now I want to the see female Pakistani athletes compete against the world’s best.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2012.