ISLAMABAD - Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) conducted one-day open trials for the selection of Pakistani squad for the 22nd Fajr International Indoor Athletics Championships Tehran (Iran) 2015 here at Jinnah Stadium, Pakistan Sports Complex.

The trials were held under the chair of Brigadier Ghulam Jillani, Director Army Sports, with two-member committee comprising M Zafar of Wapda and Major Masood of Army, while AFP of Pakistan president Major General (R) M Akram Sahi was also present on the occasion.

A total of eight athletes including lone female were selected after tough competition was witnessed for each and every place. 31 male and 19 female athletes were present for the trials. For the very first time in the history of Pakistan athletics, coaches input for the final team selection was also taken into account on the directions of AFP president. While talking to The Nation Gen Sahi said: “Coaches role is always as important as athletes. We can't rule out their significant contribution in developing an ordinary level player into one of the best in the business and I am very pleased the selection committee and coaches were on same page. There was not a single player which was picked without the consensus of coaches and the selection committee. It is quite encouraging sign and clear indication how seriously we take selection, which is completely based on merit by keeping in mind only one thing and that is prospect of winning medal for the country.”

Gen Sahi said last time Pakistani athletes performed exceptionally and won three gold and as many silver medals and finished on second spot among 13 participating nations in the event. He said this time around 18 to 20 countries will vie for the top honours and we expect much improved performance from Pakistan athletes. He said the federation had picked the best available talent and was providing them with excellent training and extra-ordinary facilities at the PSB during three-week long camp, which would continue till departure of the team.

He said eight players and three officials would reach Iran on February 10 and the competitive action would start from Feb 12. and team would return on 14th. He said besides eight athletes they had also picked four reserves players including one female so that in case of any untoward incident or eleventh hour injury they had the choice of replacing them and replacement was as strong as the first choice.

“This is the first international event of 2015, in which Pakistani athletes would participate. I hope they perform well and laid foundation of winning more and more laurels for the country in the next international events a good start would definitely boost their confidence and also give us strength to focus more on providing our athletes more and more opportunities tin international meets,” Sahi concluded.

The following athletes were selected by the selection committee: 60m hurdle and flat two athletes M Nawaz (Wapda) and M Sajjad (PAF); 400m Nokhar Hussain (Army) Sami Ullah (Wapda), Mehboob Ali (Army); 400m relay Nokhar Hussain, Sami Ullah, Mehboob Ali and M Ikram (Wapda)’ 800m M Ikram (Wapda)’ Pole Vault M Jaffar (Army), hile three reserve players include 3000m Rameez Ahmed (Army), Pole Vault Rehan Anjum (Army), Shot Putt Shafqat Ali (Wapda) while lone female Sumira Tayyaba would represent country in 60m flat and 60m hurdles while Maria Maratib is the reserve athlete.