ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Midas-touched wrestlers Azhar Hussain and Muhammad Inam Monday played down their chances in next week’s Commonwealth (CW) Games, saying a lack of international match practice had hurt their chances of repeating their performances.
Hussain won a gold medal in 55-kg freestyle wrestling in the Games held in New Delhi in 2010 and added a silver in the Greco-Roman 55-kg category.
Inam won a gold in the 84-kg freestyle four years ago to keep Pakistan’s traditions of faring well in the Games’ wrestling competition.
But both Hussain and Inam said that being unable to compete in international events over the last four years would hit their chances at Glasgow Games from July 23 to August 3.
“I am not fully prepared,” said Hussain. “When you don’t compete in international events regularly, you feel a void and that’s what I’m feeling.”
Lack of funds and a long-standing feud between two rival factions of Pakistan Olympic Association meant neither wrestler was sent to the 2013 World Championship in Hungary or the Asian Championship in Kazakhstan.
Hussain, whose 2010 performance to beat Nigeria’s Ebikewenimo Welson brought joy to his hometown of Muzaffargarh, said he was not hopeful of repeating the feat.
Inam, who will be in action in the 86-kg class, agreed.
“Delhi Games made us stars, but we remained idle the next four years,” he lamented.
Pakistan have won 29 medals in Games’ history since competing for the first time in Vancouver in 1954. Of these medals, 16 are gold, eight silver and five bronze.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2014.
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