Pakistan’s stint at the Commonwealth Games

Contingent saves face with medals in wrestling, boxing and judo.

Nabil Tahir/natasha Raheel August 04, 2014


For Pakistan, the Commonwealth Games came to an end on a less-than-satisfactory note as the country finished 23rd out of 71 nations.

Pakistan Sports Board official Akhtar Ganjera admitted that the national contingent of 62 athletes in 11 disciplines – who managed to win only four medals and none of them gold – seemed clueless for the better part of the Games.

“Our athletes were lacking in preparation and it showed,” Ganjera told The Express Tribune.

“It’s been a testing time for all. The athletes mainly suffered due to the internal issues of the Pakistan Olympic Association and the government. It was unfair on them.”

Ganjera said that the athletes did not get enough training and practice before coming to Glasgow. However, he said that the medals in wrestling, boxing and judo were a source of relief for the entire country.

“For us, the wrestlers did it again, they won two medals” said Ganjera.

Pakistan’s top wrestler Azhar Hussain, who won a bronze medal in the 57kg category, was quoted as being unhappy with his performance. The seasoned athlete had earlier won a gold and silver medal at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

According to Ganjera, Hussain has been despairing over his form despite making a successful comeback.

“Hussain was upset because he knows what it feels like to win gold,” said Ganjera. “He hadn’t competed anywhere since 2010. It’s an achievement for him though, given that these wrestlers were only training at local venues without proper facilities.”

Meanwhile, Qamar Abbas took a silver medal in his debut at the Commonwealth Games in the 52kg event.

Wrestlers remain the biggest achievers for Pakistan, winning 39 out of 69 medals in the Games, including 20 gold medals since 1954.

Waseem shines but remains displeased with judges

Out of six boxers in the competition, Muhammad Waseem took the silver medal in the 52kg category.

Despite being showered with praise for his achievement, Waseem was not satisfied with the result and felt that the judges in the final bout against the Australian opponent came up with an unfair decision.

“I knew that I had won, this was a gold medal wasted,” said Waseem.

Meanwhile, judo took a step forward this time as Pakistan won its first Commonwealth medal in the sport.

Shah Hussain Shah bagged silver in the 100kg event and was the first Pakistani athlete to achieve a medal since the Games started.

No high expectations from others

Ganjera said that while the aim of entering other disciplines in the Games was just to make an international appearance, he had expected a medal in weightlifting.

Other sports included swimming, table tennis, badminton, shooting, weightlifting, athletics, gymnastics and a debut in lawn bowls, but the results were a worrying sight.

Pakistan has competed in 11 of the 19 previous Commonwealth Games since 1954. The country’s most successful stint was the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, where Pakistan finished fourth in the overall rankings, winning eight gold medals and one silver medal.

Since then, the country has failed to improve their performance at the Games, with the worst campaign in 1990 when Pakistan was represented in only three disciplines.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2014.

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