KARACHI: Humera Ashique became the first Pakistani women to win a judo gold medal in an international event on Sunday in Nepal.
The 24-year-old took the gold at the 2014 South Asian Judo Championship in Kathmandu as she defeated a local athlete to clinch the 48kg event.
Team coach Rashid Ahmed said that Humera’s victory was of historical eminence.
“Humera just created history and I am proud of her as a Pakistani,” Rashid Ahmed told The Express Tribune.
“She is the first female to deliver a breakthrough performance for the judokas of our country.
“I’m also proud of the entire team. Pakistani women have finally made a mark in the international judo scene.”
According to Humera, her dream came true after training hard at the national camp since November.
“I’m just relieved now,” said Humera.
“I was so tired of failing to win the ultimate title. But after so many years and hard work I’ve finally managed to win a gold medal. Before leaving for Nepal I told my parents that I’ll succeed. I performed sensibly and outplayed very tough opponents.”
The Lahore-based athlete, who defeated a Nepalese judoka in the final, said that despite the crowd cheering for her opponent, she kept her cool.
“It doesn’t matter if the local crowd is cheering their local athlete,” she said. “Once I get inside the ring, I forget everything.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan took second position in the overall championship with three gold medals, three silver and six bronze, next to India on the top, while Nepal finished third.
Hussain Shah won the gold medal in the -100kg event, while Ahmed Shehzad won another in the +100kg event.
Afzal Basir bagged the silver medal in the 90kg competition, while female athlete Maryam Jabbar took the silver medal in 52kg event. Beenish Khan also took a silver medal in the 78kg competition.
Yasir Khan took the bronze medal in the -66kg event, Karamat Butt finished third in the 81 kg category, while Shumaila Gull secured a bronze medal in the 57kg event with Fouzia Mumtaz clinching a bronze medal in the 70kg event.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2014.
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