KARACHI: Pakistan’s athletics side returned Lahore late Sunday night from Tehran after a disappointing performance in the 8th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships last week.As many as five athletes of the country competed there but failed to live up to the expectations.
In the 4x400m relay, Pakistan finished fifth out of six nations. Pakistan’s relay side, featuring Olympian Mehboob Ali, Nokar Hussain, Nishat Ali and Rana Nadeem Bashir, clocked 3:16.53 timing.
Qatar claimed gold with 3:10.08, Kazakhstan picked silver with 3:11.68 and Iran clinched bronze with 3:11.74.Experienced athlete Mehboob Ali told ‘The International News’ that Pakistan’s performance in relay was affected by injuries to Nishat and Nadeem.“Both had muscular issues and that damaged our cause,” said Mehboob, who was part of Pakistan’s contingent in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
He said that they had to toil hard before reaching Iran for the competitions. “Our flight was cancelled and when we caught another flight the second day we got stuck in Muscat Airport because there had been snowfall in Iran. We reached in the morning and our competition began in the evening the same day,” Mehboob said.
In the 400m race, Mehboob finished second in his heat with a timing of 49.94 but could not qualify for finals. “We missed the managers meeting because of our late arrival in Tehran. We were expecting that two athletes in each heat will qualify. I ran well and knew that I would qualify as I was at number two position but later we were told that only one qualified from our heat and it was unfortunate,” Mehboob said.
He said that Pakistan direly needed an indoor facility. “We need an indoor facility in Pakistan. Otherwise it would be tough to compete in Indoor environment,” he said.His brother Nokar clocked 49.10 to finish fourth out of five competitors in his 400m heat, failing to qualify for finals.
Tanvir Baboo finished fifth out of seven athletes in his 60m race. The athletes will join a camp in Islamabad on Tuesday (today) to resume their preparations for the Asian Games to be held in Indonesia from August 18 to September 2.