LAHORE-The medal winning players of Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) were rewarded on Wednesday by IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza.

Talking to The Nation, PSB Director Media M Azam Dar said that the cheques were given away to the athletes, who won medals during the 13th South Asian Games held in Nepal from December 1-10, 2019. The AFP players total 13 medals, which include 5 gold, 2 silver and 6 bronze medals.

“In men’s events, Arshad Nadeem won gold medal in javelin throw, Uzair Rehman gold in 200m gold and bronze in 4x100m, Muhammad Naeem gold 110m hurdles and bronze in 4x100m, Mehboob Ali gold in 400m hurdles and bronze in 4x400m, Shams-ul-Haq bronze in discuss throw, Sami Ullah bronze medals in 100m and 4x100m, Umar Sadat bronze in 4x400m, Abdul Moeed bronze in 4x400m relay, Nokar Hussain bronze in 4x400m relay while Muhammad Shahbaz bronze in 4x400m relay.

“In women events, Najma Parveen won gold medal in 400m hurdles, silver medals in 200m and 4x400m relay and bronze in 4x100m relay, Sahaib-a-Asra silver in 4x400m relay and bronze medals in 400m and 4x100m relay, Aneela Gulzar silver in 4x400m relay and bronze in 4x100m relay, Rabia Ashiq silver in 4x400m relay while Esha Imran bronze medal in 4x100m relay,” he added.

Dar further said that in line with approved cash award policy, gold medalists were handed over Rs 1 million each, silver medalists Rs 500,000 each while bronze medalists Rs 250,000 each. “Total cash awards amounting to Rs 11.250 million have been awarded to the medal winnings male and female athletes.” IPC Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Saima Nadeem, Secretary Muhammad Ali Shahzada, AFP Secretary Muhammad Zafar and PSB Deputy DG M Azam Dar were present on the occasion.

Addressing the medal winnings players, PSB President Dr Fehmida Mirza congratulated them on winning medals for the country. “All the sportspersons are true ambassadors of the country, who not only compete for the country at international level but also try their best to win laurels for their motherland. I am also grateful to parents of the players, who encouraged and supported their children to take part in the Games, who in return won medals for the country.” The IPC Minister said that a series of meetings and thorough deliberations were held to select the contingent on merit enabling to ensure value for government exchequer and achieve better results. She shared the proud moments of the prize distribution ceremony when flag of Pakistan was hoisted and national anthem was played in Nepal.

Dr Fehmida, who is also President PSB, highlighted the role of IPC Ministry for arranging training of athletes in China before their participation in the SA Games to gain professional skills, international exposure and match temperament. The Minister especially lauded Arshad Nadeem for his outstanding achievements and direct qualification to the Tokyo Olympic Games. Arshad is the first ever Pakistani in the history to qualify directly for the Olympics.

In the second session of the day with female athletic players, Dr Fehmida also lauded them for taking active part in sports and brining glories for the country. She valued Najma Parveen for her achievements in national and international competitions and assured them and AFP of every possible support. “We will continue to support the athletic federation as well as the players to excel in the mega international events and those, who will win more international medals, will be further rewarded.”

Sharing his views, AFP Secretary Muhammad Zafar, on behalf of AFP President Maj Gen (R) Muhammad Akram Sahi and the federation, thanked Dr Fehmida Mirza and the PSB for their untiring efforts and timely rewarding the players at this crucial time. He acknowledged the role of the IPC Minister for making arrangements of the SA Games and encouraging the players at the venue which was a great source of inspiration for the players.

The medal winnings players also thanked the IPC Minister and the PCB for this timely support and also emphasised that like federal government, respective provincial governments may also come forward to support the players enabling them to set high goals and continue achieving laurels for the country through collective efforts.