Islamabad-Pakistan golden girl Sahib-e-Asra has vowed to excel in the 3rd Junior South Asian Athletics Championship to be held in Lakhnau, India on October 19 and 20.

Sahib-e-Asra, who won 7 gold medals in the Youth and Junior Championship held in Islamabad, looked highly confident regarding her chances in all the four events, she would participate.

Talking to The Nation, along with Fatima Hussain, Mahnoor Dogar and national head coach Asghar Gill, Asra said: “Although three-week camp is too short to train for such a mega event, in which all the top athletes will be in action, yet I am quite sure, I will not disappoint and will return with my head high.”

She said it was only her second international event, as earlier she had managed to help Pakistan win bronze medal in 4x100m relay and now she wanted to win gold. “I have performing at national level for the past 5 years and won at the senior level. Presently, I am the junior champion and also done remarkably at the senior level. I won all the gold medals on offer in the last month National Youth and Junior Athletics,” she added.

To a query, she said: “In 100m and 200m I can win gold while I am quite hopeful we will be able to finish on podium in 4x100m and 4x400m relay. But it depends, how other members of the team handle the pressure.”

She said Rana Saleem was her coach and she had learnt a lot from him. “In the national camp, I am training under the watchful eyes of Pakistan’s most experienced coach Asghar Gill, who treat players as his daughters. We are being provided excellent facilities and meal by the PSB, but we need international training. I have always dreamt of winning medal in Olympics, but for that, I need to get training abroad. “It is my request to AFP president Maj Gen (R) M Akram Sahi to arrange funds for athletes so that we may train in Jamaica. We only lack international-standard training and exposure. The time is high when IPC minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada and PSB Director General Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera must lend a helping hand to the federation,” she added.

Sharing her views, national javelin throw champion Fatima Hussain said: “I hold the record of 39.08 meters. I am only 18, but I have already made my mark at senior level. I joined Wapda last year on one-year contract, but I am sure I will become first Pakistani female athlete to win Olympics medal, if provided with opportunities. I have set sights on 2020 Olympics to fulfill my dream.

“I request the AFP president, IPC minister and PSB DG to arrange funds so that I may train in Germany. In the upcoming junior championship in India, I am quite hopeful of doing well for Pakistan and return with medal,” she added.

Sharing her views, 14-year-old Mahnoor Dogar, who had just won gold medal in shot-put and javelin throw in national youth and junior championship, said: “I am being trained by coach Arshad and I will compete in both events. My parents always supported me especially my father, who is also an athlete. I want to be trained in Germany and any investment will result in future medals.”

Pakistan’s experienced national coach Asghar Gill has said that Sahib-e-Asra has realistic chances of winning medal in 200m. “We are sending 7 junior girls for the Indian event. We will feature in 5 categories which include 100m, 200m, shot-put, javelin throw and 4x100m relay. “These days, the athletes don’t train the way we used to train under extremely difficult conditions. Despite having facilities, jobs and international tours, it will be totally their failure, if they fail to perform in international event despite heavy investment and extraordinary training on them,” he added.