ISLAMABAD - Noah Dastageer gave Pakistanis something to cheer about in the 12th South Asian Games in Guwati on Tuesday, as he won gold medal for the country in 105kg weight category in weightlifting.

It was one of the worst days for Pakistani athletes, as the fastest runner Liaqaat Ali failed to even take bronze medal. His hard work and extra training proved too low to take even bronze medal, while the country’s fastest female Maria Maratib also flopped miserably in 100m race.

The sources present at the venue confirmed to this correspondent that Pakistani athletes were not even close to Sri Lankans, who dominated the first day of athletics event. “Another setback for Pakistan was witnessed when defending hammer throw champion Shakeel was beaten all hands up by the host nation’s Neraj, who grabbed gold with 66.14m, while Shakeel could earn silver medal with 63.67m throw,” they added.

Pakistani athletes male and female participated in 11 disciplines on the inaugural day of athletics events, which included long jump, shot put, 100m, hammer throw, 800m, high jump, 5000m in both male and female category, out of which only one medal was won by Shakeel in hammer throw that was silver, while the entire Pakistani athletes failed to lift even a bronze medal.

“It is a matter of grave concern and raise lot of questions regarding tall claims made by athletics coaches and players. There is also a big question mark on Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP)’s performance. Three female coaches were sent, what they have achieved and now remaining athletics meets will be held today (Wednesday). Pakistani athletes have last chance to salvage some pride.

“Had head coach Asghar Gill and other top coaches were sent to India with the players, the results could have been far different. IPC secretary M Ali Gardezi and PSB DG Dr Akhtar Ganjera had claimed to win 19 gold medals, but due to poor planning, worst mismanagement, Pakistan contingent even failed to defend titles. Now the time is high when IPC Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada should finally wake up and seek explanation from high-flying PSB DG, who is the main person behind the entire Pakistan debacle in the South Asian Games. If the DG is again let of the hook, then the IPC Minister and Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif will be mainly responsible for the decline of Pakistan sports,” the sources stated.

The most shocking news of the day was World Basketball Federation (WBBF) had written a letter to South Asian Games organisers and warned them of serious consequences in case they conduct basketball events both male and females. They also warned to ban India if they violate orders.

Bisma Khan won another bronze medal for Pakistan in 50m backstroke with a time of 31.95 and bettered new national record, while Pakistan female swimming team, comprising of Lianna, Kiran, Bisma and Areeba, won bronze medal in 4x200m freestyle relay.

Pakistan raced into the squash team event final, as they thrashed Bangladesh 3-0. Farhan, Danish and Sheikh Saqib recorded victories to set up gold medal date with archrivals India today (Wednesday). Now Pakistan had won five gold, 12 silver and 19 bronze medals. Pakistan kabaddi team reached India on Tuesday. Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi made it to the men’s singles semifinals after defeating Sri Lankan Godamanaa 6-4, 7-6 in the quarterfinals. Aqeel Khan lost against Sakit of India 3-6, 3-6 while Ushna lost against Prena Bahamri 1-6, 2-6 and Sara Mansoor lost against Ankita Bahmari 1-6, 2-6. Pakistan male team won bronze medal in volleyball after defeating Maldives 3-0, winning 25-17, 25-19 and 25-13.