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December 11, 2019

Pakistan end SAG journey with 32 gold; to host next edition of the games


December 11, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan on Tuesday won men’s squash team event gold when they beat India 2-1 in the decider to wrap up the 13th South Asian Games journey with 32 gold, 41 silvers and 59 bronze medals in Nepal.

Pakistan finished fourth. India (174-93-45) took the first position, hosts Nepal stood second (51-60-95) and Sri Lanka were third (40-83-128).

Bangladesh (19-32-87), Maldives (1-0-4) and Bhutan (0-7-13) stood fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. The Games were formally closed at a glittering ceremony in Kathmandu on Tuesday which was also graced by Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishor Pokharei.

The next South Asian Games will be hosted by Pakistan in 2021. The South Asian Olympic Council (SAOC) president Jeevan Ram Shrehtha handed over the official flag of the Games to the Pakistan Olympic Association’s (POA) president Lt Gen (retd) Syed Arif Hasan.

This will be the third time for Pakistan to host the region’s biggest sports event. Pakistan previously hosted the Games in 1989 and 2004, in Islamabad.

“Pakistan is looking forward to hosting the next Games. You have set very high standards and I assure you that we in Pakistan will try and come up to your expectations,” POA chief Arif Hasan said at the closing ceremony.

“The 9th SAF Games had been organised by us previously and had been acknowledged by all as well-organised Games. We promise you the 14th edition of the Games will be even better. The people of Pakistan are looking forward to welcoming all of you with open hearts and with our traditional well-known hospitality. Looking forward to seeing you in Pakistan after two years,” Arif said.

Pakistan’s talented squash player Tayyab Aslam, who won individual and team gold in Nepal, led Pakistan’s contingent at the march past at the closing ceremony.

Tayyab Aslam started the squash final with a smart 3-1 victory over India’s Harindar with the set scores of 5-11, 11-6, 11-4,12-10. He took 36 minutes to beat his rival despite losing his first set. However, India bounced back when Pakistan’s Asim Khan went down to Pardhan 2-3 with the set scores of 9-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-5, 4-11.

Seasoned Farhan Mehboob lived up to the billing as he beat Abhay Singh in straight sets to enable Pakistan to secure the gold medal. The set scores were 11-8, 12-10, 11-5. This was the second gold for Pakistan in squash as Tayyab Aslam had claimed the first in individual event.

In women squash team event final, Pakistan went down to India 1-2. Madina Zafar, Faiza Zafar, Amna Fayyaz and Muqaddis Ashraf were part of the team.

Pakistan secured three silver medals on the last day of the competitions, two in men’s boxing and one in judo. Pakistan won mixed team event judo silver on the final day to finish with two gold, three silver and four bronze.

The mixed team consisted of Humaira Ashiq, Amina Toyoda, Asma Bano, Beenish Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Nadeem Akram, Karamat Butt, Qaiser Khan, Shah Hussain and Hamid Ali.

Olympian Shah Hussain and Hamid Ali got gold medals, while Qaiser Afridi, Karamat Butt and the mixed team got silver medals.

Hasnain, Beenish, Humaira and Amina claimed bronze. In the last SAG held in India in 2016, Pakistan had clinched two gold, two silver and eight bronze in judo.

In men’s boxing, Pakistan’s hope of winning a gold medal ended when Mohammad Asif and Gul Zeb lost in the finals to Indian boxers. Asif was beaten by Sparsh Kumar and Gul went down to Krishan Vikas.

Pakistan finished with three silver and six bronze medals in boxing. The six bronze medals include three won by women boxers: Razia Bano, Rukhsana Parveen and Mehreen. Awais Ali Khan (81kg), Mehmood-ul-Hasan (75kg) and Naqeebullah (56kg) were the men’s bronze medallists. The third silver was claimed by Sanaullah (91kg) who got the achievement without winning a single bout as there were only three entries in his class and he was given bye in the first round.

Pakistan featured in 18 disciplines in Nepal’s Games.

National karatekas stole the limelight during their epic journey as they got six gold, eight silver and five bronze medals.

Pakistan stood first in weightlifting. The weightlifters’ achievements included five gold and two silver medals.

In athletics, Pakistan picked five gold, two silver and six bronze. Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem set a new SAG record with a fantastic throw of 86.29m which put him in the 2020 Olympics.

In wrestling, Pakistan secured three gold and four silver.

In wushu, the country picked three gold, four silver and four bronze medals.

In taekwondo, Pakistan claimed three gold, six silvers and eight bronze.

In squash, Pakistan got two gold, one silver and three bronze medals.

Pakistan did a superb job in men’s handball when the nation beat India in a gripping final to reclaim the gold.

In shooting, Pakistan took two gold, five silver and six bronze medals.

Pakistan failed to win a medal in table tennis.

In swimming, Pakistan managed to win one silver and two bronze medals.

In tennis, Pakistan got one silver and seven bronze.

Pakistan’s performance in badminton (3 bronze) and kabaddi (bronze) was extremely poor. Pakistan, once considered a powerhouse in kabaddi, lost to minnows Sri Lanka and India.

In volleyball (men), Pakistan had to be content with a silver medal as they lost to India 3-1 in the final.

In beach volleyball, Pakistan got a bronze.

Points Table

Nations Gold Silver Bronze Total

India 174 93 45 312

Nepal 51 60 95 206

Sri Lanka 40 83 128 251

Pakistan 32 41 59 132

Bangladesh 19 32 87 138

Maldives 1 0 4 5

Bhutan 0 7 13 20