After months of preparation, talk and hopes, the day of reckoning has finally arrived for the Pakistan sprinter Liaqat Ali who will be taking part in the men’s 100m preliminary round today.
Ali’s personal best of 10.55 seconds will need huge improvements if he is to make it past the first hurdle where he is pitted against Gabon’s Wilfried Bingangoye, Marshall Island’s Timi Garstang, Indonesia’s Fernando Lumain, Suriname’s Jurgen Themen, Palau’s Rodman Teltull and Tuvalu’s Tavevele Noa in the heat.
“I’ve prepared in the best manner that I could and now it’s all about performing on the biggest stage,” Ali told The Express Tribune. “I hope that I qualify for the next round because I don’t want to just be a mere participant.”
Ali was part of a month-long training camp ahead of the London Games where he had trained with his departmental coach Maqsood Ahmed. Since arriving in London, Ali has been getting used to the conditions as well as the track but he stressed that the he got less time to prepare for the Games compared to the top athletes. However, he vowed to put in a great effort, ensuring that he atleast breaks the national record - 10.42 seconds set by Afzal Baig in 2005.
Meanwhile, Ali’s coach Ahmed, who has been in constant touch with the sprinter from Pakistan, confirmed that Ali’s spikes were changed to make them get the best out of the Mondo track. Ahmed explained that the spikes were made locally and only good enough for tartan track which forced the change ahead of the race.
“He has bought new, different-shaped spikes and is now feelings more comfortable on the track,” said Ahmed.
The Olympian added that Ali was surprisingly very calm and composed ahead of his race which showed his determination to become the first Pakistani athlete to reach the main round of an Olympics 100m event.
“I believe that Ali will make history by qualifying for the next round and create a new chapter in Pakistan athletics.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2012.
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