Special Olympics contingent off to LA

A total of 77 athletes part of team Pakistan for 2015 World Games.

Natasha Raheel July 20, 2015
Team Pakistan departing for Los Angeles with Regional Director Federal Arif Shaffi and Abass Hashmi at the Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad. PHOTO: SPECIAL OLYMPICS PAKISTAN FACEBOOK PAGE

KARACHI: After lengthy preparations spanning over seven months, the Special Olympics Pakistan’s (Sop) contingent of 77 athletes left for Los Angeles on Monday to compete at the 2015 World Games, starting from July 25.

Sop deputy head Asma Hasan believes that the hard work and dedication put in to prepare the athletes in five cities will assure that Pakistan, who won 59 medals in the last edition of the Games, have a good chance of repeating the feat.

“The athletes have a good chance of winning medals in their own categories,” Hasan told The Express Tribune. “We’ve had five camps all over the country and we’ve had qualified coaches, trained from abroad, to work with the athletes.”

Pakistan will be represented by the athletes in nine disciplines, including athletics, football, swimming, basketball, tennis, table tennis, powerlifting and cycling.

“It is a very important event for us as a nation,” said Hasan. “The way we organised their sending off from Karachi speaks volumes about how much importance we are placing on this. The people of Pakistan should know that they [the athletes] are going to represent the country at one of the biggest platforms in the world.”

The Sop contingent includes 38 athletes from Karachi, 15 from Lahore and 24 from Islamabad, while Hasan, head of delegation Mahfooz Ilahi and Sop chairperson Ronak Lakhani would accompany the contingent.

The 2015 World Games will be featuring 7,000 athletes from 177 countries, while American First Lady Michelle Obama would be the guest of honour at the opening ceremony.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st,  2015.

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