ISLAMABAD - It was a great day for Pakistan, as Syed Maratib Ali Shah and Maaz Khan won gold medals for Pakistan in wushu in the 12th South Asian Games in Guwati on Wednesday.

Pakistan male and female squash teams bagged silver medals in team event as they lost both the finals against hosts India. Finally a bronze medal was won by Mohsin Ali in 110m hurdles for Pakistan in athletics, as Pakistani athletes dismal run continued in the Games while Pakistan swimming team comprising Liana, Bisma, Kiran and Tayyba won silver medal in medley relay, while Rashid Minhas won silver in 75kg weight category, Zahoor Ahmed earned silver in wushu in 52kg weight category and wushu team bagged two gold, as many silver and six bronze medals to finish the event on a high note.

Maratib Ali won the first gold of the day for Pakistan as he downed Haidery of Afghanistan in 65kg weight category. Maaz Khan won the second gold for the country in 70kg weight category, as he outclassed local lad and hot favourite Mukhesh Chaudhry. It was a perfect day for the men in green as two silver medals were also won by wushu players Zahoor and Rashid. Now Pakistan had seven golds, 27 silvers and 34 bronze medals in their bag.

Talking to The Nation from Guwati, Pakistan wushu team head coach Usman Iftikhar expressed his satisfaction over the outstanding results produced by Pakistan wushu team and players but he also said that they could have easily won two more gold medals, had they struggled a bit hard. “I was quite confident about my players’ positive results, as we worked really hard in training camp. I would like to say a big thanks to Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for providing facilities and especially to assistant director hostels Malik Imtiaz Hussain and his entire staff for taking extra care of us and for providing us excellent meal and accommodation despite the fact renovation/maintenance work was in progress in Allama Iqbal hostels.

“The results gave us heart and I hope the government, IPC Minister and the PSB would announce some handsome rewards for the wushu players, so that they may take heart and perform further well at international stage,” he added.

Pakistan’s real hope in athletics Mohsin Ali could only win bronze in 110m hurdles. Although he earned bronze medal yet he at least saved Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) from complete humiliation, as all the tall claims made by the federation regarding superb training and extraordinary coaching were badly exposed by Sri Lankans, who stole the limelight in athletics event. It raised a number of questions needed to be answered by AFP president Major General (R) M Akram Sahi regarding worst showing of the athletes. It was never witnessed before in the history of South Asian Games that Pakistani athletes failed to win gold medal in athletics. Gen Sahi must seek explanation from coaching staff and players.

Pakistan hockey team marched into the finals of the Games men’s hockey event after thrashing Bangladesh 6-0 in the last league match while the final will be played tomorrow (Friday). Pakistanis were on goal-scoring rampage, as Awais scored a brace for the green shirts, while Umar Bhutta, Aleem Bilal, Arsalan Qadir and Tasawar Abbas hit one goal apiece for the winners.

It was not a good day for both national male and female squash teams as they failed to lift gold and had to settle for silver medals. In men’s team event, Nasir Iqbal was beaten by world number 18 Saurav Ghosal in straight games 9-11, 6-11, 7-11. Danish kept Pakistan hopes alive in the final, as he beat Ravi 3-1. The sources present at the venue confirmed that the squash players failed to perform well, while poor refereeing was another factor behind their loss, but Danish played well and that’s why he won the encounter 11-4, 11-8, 8-11, 11-7.

All was left on Farhan Zaman’s shoulders to win gold for the country in the third and deciding encounter against highly versatile and experienced Kush Kumar, but strangely Zaman failed to put up decent show in the first game losing it 3-11. He gave some resistance in the second game before losing it 7-11 and it was see saw battle in the third game, which Farhan could have easily won, but close calls from referee denied him the set which he lost 10-12, thus Pakistan had to settle for a silver medal.

In the female’s squash final, Joshana beat Maria Toor Pakai Wazir 3-1 in another excellent encounter between the two highly talented players. Maria lost the first game 8-11, won the second 11-4, lost the third 3-11 and fourth game 9-11. Sammer Anjum went down fighting against Sunayna 3-2 in one of the best encounters of the event. Sammer won the first game 12-10 but lost the second game 9-11 and also lost the third 7-11. But she bounced back in the fourth game winning it 11-8 before losing the fifth and decisive game 8-11.

Pakistan squash team will return tomorrow (Friday) night and has to travel for at least 30 plus hours before reaching home where they will be honoured by Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) which has arranged a grand reception for them. It is pertinent to mention here that absence of regular coaches was the main reason behind Pakistan squash team;s failure to lift the gold medal in team events, as Indian authorities failed to send accreditation of squash coach Fahim Gul and Sitvat Babar.