Pakistan’s Muhammad Waseem wound up Pakistan’s campaign at the Commonwealth Games 2014 with a silver medal in the 52-kg flyweight final. The 26-year-old boxer from Quetta lost the all-important bout to Australia’s Andrew Maloney 3-0 on Saturday. With Waseem’s performance, Pakistan won its fourth medal in Glasgow, and a third silver medal.
“It was very exciting… but the referees’ decision was controversial,” Waseem said after the bout. “I know I was winning, even my opponent and his coaches thought I was winning… I dominated the fight from the get go.”
“I was shocked when they announced the winner… I had even raised my hands thinking I won,” he added. “It’s like a gold medal wasted because of an unfair decision.”
Talking about the bout, Waseem said: “As a boxer, you know when you’re winning or not… my opponent tried very hard but never once made proper contact.”
“They [Maloney’s coaches] weren’t happy with their pugilist… they told me they thought I would win after the match,” he said.
According to the team manager and Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) secretary Iqbal Hussain, winning a silver medal is just a consolation. “I would’ve been very proud had we won the gold medal, we were so close,” Hussain told The Express Tribune from Glasgow.
“Waseem was a better boxer in the ring technically and talent-wise. He competed with all his heart in the last two rounds; however, I can only say that it wasn’t his day. His opponent got lucky,” he added.
Hussain also said that competing in a different weight category only spells tougher competition. “Waseem used to compete in 49-kg, but now participating in 52-kg is natural for him. He was a younger and a different athlete four years ago. Now he has improved, and despite the defeat, I’m 100 per cent happy with his performance,” said Hussain.
Waseem reached the final after defeating Ghana’s Abdul Omar. Earlier, he won against Lesotho’s Moroke Mokhotho and Malaysia’s Jaya Raman Selvakumar. Hussain added that Pakistan could have won more medals in the Games, but the government should take sports as seriously. “Pakistan should prioritise the athletes’ talent and merit. The athletes should be given importance, as they have the potential to win gold medals as well,” said Hussain. The boxing team will return to Islamabad on August 4.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2014.
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