Olympics 2020: Pakistan’s Dry Run in sporting events

There’s nothing sports fanatics love more than the Olympics. Featuring a wide array of sports, from gymnastics to swimming to volleyball, the Olympics has it all. The first Olympic Games were held in Greece at the end of the 6th century BCE. After that, it took almost 1500 years to return.

On 6th April 1896, the Modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece where participants from fourteen different nations took part in nine different sports. Ten out of fourteen participating nations won silver as well as gold medals. Olympics-1896 heeded as a magnificent success. The Sport had the largest international participation of any sporting event to that date.

The Olympic Games is an athletic festival where the best athletes from different countries compete in sporting events. Each athlete represents their country in their respective sport during the Olympics held every four years. Additionally, discrimination is not tolerated and there is no age limit unless the sport’s international federation has established one.

The Opening Ceremony

The global pandemic caused the Olympics 2020 to be postponed and now, after approximately 12 months, it’s finally started. Taking place at the Olympic Stadium in the host city of Tokyo Japan, the opening ceremony offered stunning displays of athleticism. It was the perfect way to start the Olympics.

There was the Parade of Nations where the athletes from different countries marched and bear their flags. Whereas Khalil Akhtar and Mahnoor Shahzad from Pakistan bear the national flag during the march. The opening ceremony ended with the traditional lighting of the Olympic flame at the Olympic Stadium. And talented tennis star Naomi Osaka, who was born in Japan, lit up the cauldron with the Olympic flame marking the beginning of the famed Olympic Games.

History of Pakistan’s participation in the Olympics

In 1948, the National Olympic Committee was formed. The first Governor-General of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was named patron in chief of the national Olympic committee.

Pakistan sent athletes to compete in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1948 in London and has sent participants to every Summer Olympics since then, with the exception of the 1980 Summer Olympics in the Soviet Union, which were boycotted by the United States. However, ten medals in total won by Pakistani athletes so far, all of them competed in the Summer Olympics, with eight of them from men’s field hockey. Between 1956 to 1972, Pakistan’s men’s field hockey team reached five straight finals, gaining two gold medals and three silver medals. Moreover, Pakistan’s most successful Olympics were in Rome in 1960, when Pakistan won two medals, a gold medal in field hockey as well as a bronze medal in wrestling. However, since 1992, Pakistan has failed to win a single medal at the Olympic Games.

A total number of ten participants went to Tokyo to represent Pakistan in Olympics for six different sports such as Badminton, Athletes, Judo, Shooting, Swimming, and Weightlifting. Whereas, Pakistani athletes haven’t gotten any success up till now. In badminton, the only Pakistani participant Mahnoor Shahzad lost against Britain’s Kirsty Gilmour. On Thursday, Pakistani Judoka Shah Hussain Shah’s journey come to end after Egyptian Judoka Ramadan Darwish defeated Pakistani Judoka to win the match.

Future of Sports in Pakistan?

However, after more than four decades the only weightlifter competing in weightlifting for Pakistan is Talha Talib. Although, the 21 years old Talha Talib did not have enough resources to complete mega international events. He has closely missed out on the medal for Pakistan in Tokyo Olympics. Even though he did not gain a medal but the nation was delighted with his courage to represent Pakistan in weightlifting despite the lack of resources, amenities, and without a coach. He went viral on Pakistani social media, which was buzzing with tweets and appreciation posts on Talha Talib’s effort and courage for representing Pakistan in the mega international event of the Olympics. Development in sports needs to be reassessed by the government. The Prime Minister of Pakistan who himself was a sportsman, should take serious attention to the worsening condition of sports.

Consequently, following Talha Talib’s remarkable performance in the mega event, there is a question mark on the role of the Pakistan Olympics Association.

 

The write-up is contributed by Afaq Hussain Khan who can be reached at @AfaqHussainKhan

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