“I have been doing hard work for the last two years to clinch the Gold Medal"
Pakistan has sent a sixty-two member squad for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The Green Team is hoping to improve on the five-medal haul they received in Delhi.
Representatives of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) are accompanying the team on this trip.
The Pakistan squad comprising of both men and women will take part across nine events, including badminton, boxing, lawn bowls, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling.
The Pakistan team travel to Scotland hoping to emulate the success of the 1962 squad who won eight gold medals at the Commonwealth Games held in Perth, Australia.
The Pakistan team has trained hard in preparation for the big event. It is expected that Pakistan will excel in the sports of boxing and wrestling.
Wrestling has been the most successful event for Pakistan at the Commonwealth Games, having won thirty-seven medals, including twenty Gold.
Pakistani boxers were given a boost with the news that they will be training at Amir Khan’s gym in Bolton.
Secretary-General of the Pakistan Boxing Federation, Iqbal Hussain said:
“We will be having a good training programme at the most modern gym of Amir and his guidance will be a blessing for our boxers who will be learning the finer points of the game from the world known boxer.”
Pakistan has not fielded a men’s hockey team for the Commonwealth Games following a split in the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA).
The decision of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to ignore the IOC (International Olympic Committee) backed faction of the POA is one, which will certainly damage Pakistan hockey.
Speaking on the issue, POA President, Arif Hasan said: “Every Pakistani has emotional association with hockey, but the apathy from the hockey officials has led to this exclusion.”
Michael Hooper, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) added: “Unfortunately common sense hasn’t prevailed. It’s sad. The POA did everything they could to get the PHF to work with them but it simply did not happen.”
With Pakistan having a relatively small squad as compared to India, lets take a look at some of their top prospects for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
1. Muhammad Inam Butt (Wrestling)
Belonging to a Butt family from Gujranwala, Inam won Pakistan’s second gold at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games. In the 83 kg freestyle final, he defeated India’s Anuj Kumar 3-1 on points. Hoping to repeat his achievement from four years back, a confident Butt said:
“I have been doing hard work for the last two years to clinch the Gold Medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. I’m very much optimistic to achieve my target.”
Inam will participate in the 86kg-wrestling event.
2. Qamar Abbas (Wrestling)
Qamar Abbas is one to watch out for as he is currently in incredible form. His has been tipped by many to do well at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Describing his talent, Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PFW) President, Chaudhary Asghar said: “Qamar is new but a brave fighter. He is mentally tough like our experienced Azhar and this trait goes in his favour.”
Qamar will feature in the 74kg-wrestling event.
3. Muhammad Waseem (Boxing)
Quetta-born boxer, Muhammad Waseem participated in the Light Flyweight (49 kg) division at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He defeated Paddy Burns of Northern Ireland to win a Bronze medal for Pakistan. Wasim is nicknamed China Man for his swift style of boxing.
Introducing new techniques for the Commonwealth Games, Waseem said:
“We have to play without head-guard and keeping in view this thing I have changed my playing style. In the new style, I will more focus on counter-attack and I feel it will help me.”
“I have also changed my block style and you will now see me in quite a different form as a boxer,” added the 26-year-old.
Wasim is the captain of the Pakistan team and will compete in the 56 kg flyweight division.
4. Azhar Hussain (Wrestling)
Azhar Hussain is an army wrestler from the Muzaffargarh district in Pakistan. He won a Gold and Silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi, India.
Hussain won Pakistan’s first Gold Medal in wresting since 1970 after beating Nigeria’s Ebikewenimo Welsonin the second session of the 55 kg freestyle final.
Despite struggling with form, Azhar has been selected for the 57kg-wrestling event in Glasgow.
5. Muhammad Salman (Wrestling)
Muhammad Salman won a Bronze Medal after defeating New Zealand’s Andrei Poulet (66 kg match) at the 2009 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships held in Jalandhar, India.
Having failed to win a medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Salman will be determined to follow in the footsteps of Inam and Azhar. Salman will take part in the 65kg-wrestling event.
Having arrived late in Scotland, the Pakistan team will have to quickly acclimatise with the conditions in Glasgow. Team Pakistan will be disappointed if they come back empty handed from the 2014 Commonwealth Games.