Saturday, November 27, 2010

Asian Games 2010: A bright day for Pakistan

Pakistan brought gold home at the Asian Games on Thursday.  Many believe that it is Pakistan’s right to be the holder of so many medals since, traditionally, Pakistan has been good at hockey and squash and has been world champion in the past.
Pakistan is considered to be the greatest ever squash-playing nation of all time, and credit for this goes to the Khan dynasty. It all started with Hashim Khan, who, at the age of 36, opened Pakistan’s participation in the international arena at the British Open in 1951. Hashim went on to dominate the squash arena by winning seven British Open titles and three North American titles. With Hashim’s success, squash became a “family game” and the Khan dynasty dominated the scene from 1951to1998, producing great players like Roshan Khan, “Shariff the sheriff”, Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan after Hashim. Many tournaments and finals were dominated by this single family. Jahangir Khan won the British Open 10 consecutive times, a record unlikely to be broken any time soon. Pakistan struggled after Jansher Khan’s retirement, but winning silver in the singles competition and gold in the team event at the Asian Games 2010 means we might be getting back on track!
The history of hockey is just as rich. Pakistan first played the final of field hockey at the Olympics in 1956, nine years after gaining independence. Although they lost the final to India, it began a run of five consecutive final appearances at the Olympics. Pakistan won gold in 1960 and 1968, and silver in 1956, 1964 and 1972. Since then, Pakistan has bagged one more gold at the1984 Olympics and has bagged four World Cup hockey titles as well, the most won by any team. The last World Cup victory was back in 1994, and since then the hockey team had not been successful. But this win at Asian Games 2010, turned things around, giving Pakistan an automatic qualification for Olympics 2012.
Although Thursday did not begin well (Pakistan lost the semi-finals of Kabaddi and cricket to two virtually unknown countries in these sports), the two gold medals brightened up the day. and
Let’s hope we go on to achieve newer heights in these sports in the years to come!

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