Three athletes – shooters Ghulam Mustafa Bashir and Minhal Sohail, and judoka Shah Hussain, qualified on merit
KARACHI – Among the best athletes from 206 countries at the opening ceremony of Rio Olympics 2016 were also seven Pakistani athletes. This seven-member team marched past in the opening ceremony as shooter Ghulam Bashir carried Pakistan’s flag high at the ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.
According to Chef de Mission Shaukat Javed, 29-year-old Ghulam Bashir, who along with fellow shooter Minhal Sohail and judoka Shah Hussain Shah are the only three players to qualify for the games on merit through the continental quota. The other four athletes — swimmers Lianna Swan and Haris Bandey, and athletes Najma Perveen and Mehboob Ali — have gained wild card entries.
Ghulam Mustafa Bashir leads Pakistan’s delegation during the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games pic.twitter.com/wsEVpN2PfF
— AFP Islamabad/Kabul (@AFPAfPak) August 6, 2016
‘I had no idea that I’ll be carrying Pakistan’s flag in the opening ceremony,” said Bashir. “When I got to know, I was really excited. Qualifying for Rio was already a big achievement,’ shooter Ghulam Bashir.
21-year-old Minhal Sohail is the first ever Pakistani woman to qualify for the 10 Metre Air Rifle Category for the Olympics. Ghulam will participate in the 25-metre Rapid Fire Pistol (RFP) event for men on August 21.
Oscar-winning director Sharmeen Obaid has decided to document the women representing Pakistan in the Olympics. This is the first introductory short film and she introduced Minhal Sohail.
Judoka Shah will fight in his round of 32 of the men’s 100kg category on August 11 while Bashir and Lianna will compete in their men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol (RFP) and women’s 50m freestyle event respectively on August 12.
Swimmers Lianna Swan and Haris Bandey have represented Pakistan at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio. Swan holds seven Pakistani records, and has plenty of international experiences. She’s primarily a breaststroker but has competed in freestyle and IM at international events, as well.
Bandey completed last year at the Kazan World Championships, where he finished 47th in the heats of the 200 IM, with a time of 2:22.31.
Pakistan’s 400m record holder Mehboob Ali said that he was happy that he was going to Rio Olympics because he was the best in the country in his event. “I am happy that I am going to feature in Olympics,” the 25-year-old Mehboob told to the media.
Najma Parveen, who was picked for Rio after she won six gold medals in the National Championship, said she would improve her personal best timing in Rio. “I am confident I can improve my timing,” Najma said. She recorded 12.50 seconds in 100m competition at the Asian Athletics Championships in Pune in 2013. In the 2015 South Asian Games, Najma finished fifth in 400m hurdles.
— Omar Mansoor (@OmarMansoor) August 6, 2016
What a fukin joke — Pakistan’s 24-member official contingent for the Rio Olympics includes 17 officials
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) August 4, 2016
Seven athletes ranging from swimming, shooting, judo, and track will represent Pakistan in the 2016 Rio Olympics. pic.twitter.com/AEFox0M2hJ
— Pakistan (@BeautyPakistani) August 1, 2016
The Olympics in Brazil mark the lowest ebb for Pakistan as they failed to qualify in field hockey for the first time since their maiden appearance in 1948 London Games. India sends 119 athletes to Rio.