KARACHI: As the track and field events get underway at the Olympics, Pakistan coach Bushra Parveen confirmed that Liaqat Ali and Rabia Ashiq are fully fit and claimed the pair will be able to put on an impressive show in their respective heats.
Liaqat will be taking part in the 100m event tomorrow while Rabia will be competing in the 800m race on August 8.
“Both are now fully fit and I’m confident they’ll do well in their events,” Parveen told The Express Tribune. “They’ve been putting in extra effort because they want to make sure they make their nation proud. I’ve been taking keen interest and I’m keeping a regular check on their on-and-off-the-field activities. I’m giving as much time as I can to both of them so they remain healthy and focused on achieving their target.”
The athletes faced a few early problems on the Mondo track but Parveen said it was normal as everybody takes time to get used to new conditions. Liaqat is looking to break the national record of 10.42s, set by Afzal Baig in 2005 on an electronic timer, and while he has clocked 10.1, the time was not recorded on an official device.
All eyes on Bolt-Blake sprint duel
Meanwhile, for the first time since the advent of electronic timing, the field for the blue riband event of the Games will comprise the four fastest men in history — champion Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay.
Bolt rewrote the record books at the 2008 Beijing Games with a dazzling sprint double that turned logic on its head and forced a recalibration of what had previously been thought humanly possible. The good news for the London organisers is that the ebullient 25-year-old is back, professing himself ready to mount a successful defence of his 100m and 200m titles from four years ago in his bid to ‘become a legend’.
“I am the Olympic champion and I have to show the world I am the best,” said Bolt on the eve of the Games. The even better news is that he will have a titanic battle on his hands, the first chinks in his armour revealed when he was beaten in both the 100 and 200m in the Jamaican Olympic trials by training partner Blake.
Blake, crowned world champion in Daegu last year after Bolt sensationally false started in the final, is a serious gold medal contender.
Other rivals in the 100m will likely be another Jamaican, Powell and the Americans, Gay and Justin Gatlin. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2012.