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October 22, 2019

Flight delay causes Talha to miss North Korea event

Sports

October 22, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan’s highly talented weightlifter Talha Talib had to return from Beijing due to flight issue and thus missed the Asian Junior Weightlifting Championships which began in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and his coach Ali Aslam flew out of Islamabad via Air China in the wee hours of October 18. The fight took off five hours late from the federal capital. The connecting flight from Beijing was three hours and 30 minutes after landing in Beijing. That meant they missed the connecting flight.

On reaching Beijing, Pakistan’s squad tried to catch another flight but could not succeed. A senior official of Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWF) told ‘The News’ on Monday that a flight could be caught for Pyongyang on October 21 but as Talha had to compete on October 22 it was also of no use. “So they returned from Beijing,” the official said.

The official was not happy with the way Air China treated Pakistan’s squad. “The airline did not give our squad a place to stay and they had to spend 26 hours at the airport,” the official said.

The official added that the federation would claim refund as it was the mistake of the airline which cost Pakistan a medal. “We will file a claim for a refund as it was the mistake of the airline. If it was five hours late and the next connecting flight for Pyongyang was three hours and 30 minutes after reaching Beijing, then it was sure that the connecting flight would be missed,” the official explained.

“There was indeed a medal chance and it’s highly unfortunate,” the official said. The Pyongyang event was a qualifying round for 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Talha’s next engagement is the 33rd National Games and then the 13th South Asian Games. The National Games are slated to be held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from November 9 to 14. The South Asian Games will be held in Nepal from December 1-10.

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