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Haider, Awais win gold, silver in Dubai Paralympic events

Haider, Awais win gold, silver in Dubai Paralympic events

KARACHI: In times when Pakistan’s national cricket, hockey and squash teams are struggling to make an impact on world circuit, two of the country’s paralympic athletes – Haider Ali and Mohammad Awais – did the nation proud by clinching gold and silver medals respectively at the prestigious 2016 IPC Athletics Asia Oceania Championships being contested in Dubai.

Haider on Saturday put up a brilliant show to win a gold medal in the long jump contest in Dubai. A world record holder in paralympic long jump competitions, Haider had previously won a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics besides setting an Asian record in the 2010 Para Asian Games in the long jump with a distance of 6.43 metres.

A determined Haider now has his eyes set on the Rio Olympics 2016.

Earlier, Pakistan’s other talented athlete Muhammad Awais Baloch set the tone for the country’s medal success on Friday with a fine show in the men’s javelin throw event by winning a silver medal.

Also a silver medallist at the 2014 Para Asian Games as well as in the 2010 Para Asian Games, Awais kept his fine record in tact with an impressive show in Dubai on Friday.

Pakistan’s three-member paralympic party has Shahzad Akram as its third athlete who participated in the men’s 100 meter race and the men’s Flong jump.

While the country had originally intended to send a larger delegation, funding issues resulted in the country sending a much smaller delegation. Yet, it is extremely creditable for athletes such as Haider and Awais to remain focused and excel in the paralympic competitions for Pakistan despite no funding or patronage from the government or the private sector.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2016

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