ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s golden girl Najma Parveen is all set to represent the country in the Rio Olympics 2016 after securing wildcard entry in the 200m athletics event of the mega event.

Talking to The Nation, 24-year-old Najma said: “It’s like a dream come true for me. I was expecting Maria Maratib to book Olympics berth, but thanks to Almighty, my coach’s hard work paid great dividend and I was given honour to represent the country in the mega event.”

She said now the first task to qualifying for the Rio Olympics was achieved. “Now lies the biggest task ahead, as I not only want to improve my personal record but also keen to set new international records. I want to win medal for the country and I have great chance of rewriting history books and become the first ever female athlete to win medal in the Olympics.”

“Our training camp should have started much earlier, as now very little time has left to prepare. Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) president Major General (R) M Akram Sahi is doing wonders for this game, and despite having very limited resources and meager annual grant, he has been ensuring male and female players’ participation in international events, holding camps, national championships and training camps abroad. It is the national and moral duty of Pakistan Spots Board (PSB) and Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) ministry to help the AFP in best possible fashion and issue special grant, so that the federation might spend more on athletes, which would prove very beneficial for the country,” she added.

Najma said the PSB should have initiated training camp in Ramazan, as it was very short time left. “Head coach Asghar Gill has called me and informed me that the training camp will start in Islamabad in a day or two. I didn’t take any rest even during Eid holidays, I kept on training with my coach Tariq at Wapda ground. Wapda employed me, but we need more jobs for athletes and other departments must step forward and lend helping hand to the AFP, so that the athletes may focus on training and winning laurels for the country.”

She said she would participate in 200m flat race during the Rio Olympics. “Asghar Gill is highly experienced coach and I am quite sure, despite very short time left before the Olympics, he could transform both me and Mehboob Ali into champions. Mehboob will represent the country in the 400m race.”

To a query regarding her chances in the Olympics, Najma replied: “I will play out my heart and try to finish on podium, but athletes should be sent abroad for training on regular basis to stand realistic chances of doing well in international meets. Other countries provide modern facilities and best coaching to their athletes, therefore, they are doing wonders at international level, and if we are also assured such international-standard facilities and coaching, we can also win medals for our country.”

“I request the PSB to arrange early departure of athletes and coach must accompany us, as we badly need coach’s presence during the Olympics. At least two weeks earlier departure can help us a great deal in adjusting to the conditions and train on tracks where events will be held,” Najma concluded.