Special Olympics Summer Games 2011: Day five: Pakistan reach impressive heights

Pakistan have bagged medals in a number of event including bocce, cycling, badminton and table tennis and are certain to at least win a silver in the basketball event. PHOTO: SAIMA MOHSIN


Pakistan athletes reached unprecedented heights on an impressive fifth day of the Special Olympics Summer Games 2011 in Athens when Bakhtawar Gul and Ayesha Iftikhar bagged the top two positions at the girls’ 100-metre race, while Adeel Ameer secured a gold medal in the high jump event and Ali Sakhawat grabbed a silver medal in the men’s 200-metre race.

Rabia Saeed won the badminton women’s singles title and Mehwish Iftikhar won gold in the women’s singles table tennis event.

Eleven-year-old Gul covered the distance in 17.37 seconds while nine-year-old Ayesha followed her squad-member to bag a silver medal with 17.90 seconds to finish second. The athletes outran five other competitors in their division, as Bahrain’s Nayla H Aalathem came third with 18.12 seconds.

Meanwhile, Ameer won the gold medal in the high jump event when he covered 1.35 metres to outplay Switzerland’s Alfio Lorenzetti (1.25 metres), and Argentina’s Dario machuca (1.20 metres).

Similarly, 22-year-old Sakhawat Ali won the silver medal when he covered the distance of 200-metres in 25.53 seconds, losing the first place to China’s Bayaer Haosi with the difference of 11 seconds. Jmaica’s Owen Reitchie finished third with 25.72 seconds on the clock.

“We had an exciting day here with a lot of celebration and a major disappointment as well,” athletics coach Javad Arshad told The Express Tribune.

“Rahimullah Baig had almost won a silver medal in the 800-metre race today, but he got disqualified. We couldn’t believe it. The officials said that he entered into the race from a wrong position and ran before the signal.”

On the other hand, Saeed defeated South Korea’s Han Ui Lim 2-0 in the women’s badminton singles final. She had outplayed Netherlands’ Celine van Parijs 2-0 and China’s Chenxue 2-1 earlier in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, cyclists Billawal Aslam and Mohammad Nazeer Ahmed grabbed bronze medals in the five-kilometre men’s time trial event.

Aslam covered the distance in nine minutes and 5.62 seconds outrunning seven other competitors, losing to Colombia’s Carlos Gonzales (eight minutes and 39.89 seconds) and Greece’s Panagiotis Kontos (nine minutes and 4.84 seconds). Ahmed finished third in his division with 10 minutes and 17.69 seconds.

Meanwhile, the women’s basketball team continued with their winning streak when they defeated the UAE 31-10 in the semi-final.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2011.

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