KARACHI: Pakistan’s sprinter Liaqat Ali made a quick exit from the men’s 100m as he blamed a slow start that saw him finish fourth in the preliminary round and unable to progress into the heats and, instead, seal his fate in the event.
He could only manage 10.9s, a far cry from his personal best of 10.55s and a fear of committing a false start converted into a poor race and a tragic end.
“I wanted to avoid a false start which is why I was really slow out of the blocks and that ultimately proved fatal for my Olympics journey,” Ali told The Express Tribune. “It was always difficult to narrow down the gap. I gave it my all in the end, only to anxiously miss qualification by 0.1 seconds.”
Liaqat, apart from the quick exit, also rued the fact that he was unable to break the national record of 10.42s or even equal his personal best.
Meanwhile, his mentor Maqsood Ahmed said it was a poor run and the athlete failed to showcase his talent at the biggest stage. Ahmed claimed that if Ali had been sent abroad for training, his results would have been better.
“It was a poor performance but at the same time we must not forget that he had practised on tartan track while in London he had to run on Mondo track,” said Ahmed who emphasised that the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) should start sending athletes abroad for training if they want to take the sport to the next level.
“Athletes need a big boost and I’d request the AFP to start sending them abroad for training so that they can at least bag gold medals at the SAF Games.”
On the other hand, AFP President Akram Sahi said that Ali has been given many chances but he has only disappointed and the federation will be forced to look elsewhere.
“Ali has been given four international events but he has only disappointed us. Now, we’re looking at Imran Niazi as his replacement,” said Sahi. “Liaqat may have done well at domestic level but he lacks the confidence to do well in international events. He had an ordinary run which was very poor.”
Bailey sets marker in 100m heats
Ryan Bailey ran the fastest ever first-round qualifying time in the 100m as the main US and Jamaican favourites all cruised through their heats.
Defending champion Usain Bolt clocked 10.09sec in his heat, positively pedestrian compared to the 9.88sec run by Bailey, a time which matched his personal best. But he said he was happy to be ‘back’ after a rocky run-in to the Games. Yohan Blake timed 10sec dead after turning on the gas in his drive phase and coasting home. Asafa Powell, the third member of the formidable Jamaican trio, won his heat in 10.04sec ahead of teenage British hope Adam Gemili (10.11), with Londoner Dwain Chambers also qualifying as heat winner in a season’s best 10.02. (with additional input from AFP)
“I’m feeling good, my legs are feeling good so I’m happy with that. My training is good. I’m feeling back, so I’m happy. My reaction was good but I made a bad step and I stumbled a little bit. I’m glad it happened now.”
“I just wanted to get the cobwebs out. I haven’t competed since the trials. Everyone’s been seeing what’s going on out there. The guys are running very fast. It’s a new track and it’s the Olympics. Everyone is ready.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2012.