ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s golden girl Najma Parveen looked quite optimistic about her chances of winning gold medals in 100m and 400m relays in the South Asian Games in Guwati India.

Talking to The Nation before leaving for India, Najma, who is still undefeated in 100m, 200m, 400m hurdles and relay since 2011, said: “I will take part in 100x4, 400m flat and hurdles in South Asian Games and also in 400m relay and try to win medals for the country. I have best time of 12.00 in 100m at national level and will try to improve it there. Haider Shah was my coach in Faisalabad, while I was trained with head coach Asghar Gill in Islamabad during the training camp.”

“I have never managed to win medals abroad. It was not due to any lack of professional commitment, but due to lack of international exposure. Not only this, we also lack proper diet and have very less activity,” she said.

Najma urged Athletic Federation of Pakistan (AFP) president Major General (R) M Akram Sahi to ensure maximum national events and create opportunities for the athletes to train abroad for at least three months, as without investing and providing international exposure, nobody could expect even ordinary results. “Our coaches are as good as any international coach. We need to work hard on improvement in infrastructure and facilities to athletes. Although Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has trying to provide best ever facilitates to us yet $20 dailies are too less to meet day-to-day expenses.”

Sharing her views, new athletics sensation and No 1 player in trials Sahib-e-Asra, 19, would carry Pakistan’s hopes in 100m and 200m and also in 100m and 200m relay in South Asian Games.

Asra, who topped trials held for the selection of athletics team for SAG, said: “I was training at Faisalabad with Sir Salim, who had worked very hard with me and after that, I trained with seasoned coach Sir Maqsood. Although it is very first senior level event of mine, but I am not under pressure, and ready to deliver for my country.”

She urged the PSB to provide special grants to the AFP so that they might arrange international training for the athletes. “I want to train in USA for at least three months as it will help me in becoming a true champion.”

Sharing their views, coaches Asghar Gill and Maqsood said their students had bright chances of winning at least five gold medals in the South Asian Games.

“We have trained them well and have hopes that they will perform exceptionally in the South Asian Games and win medals for the country.” –Mohsin Ali