Tuesday September 21, 2021

Najma finishes last, falls far below her best timing

August 03, 2021

KARACHI: Pakistan’s experienced female athlete Najma Parveen finished 41st out of 41 athletes who competed in the 200 metre heats of the athletics competitions in the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.

She also finished seventh out of seven athletes in her heat-2. Finishing at the last position is not a matter of concern but the thing which matters the most is her below-par timing which she pulled off in Tokyo. She clocked 28.12 seconds, well below her personal best time of 23.69 seconds which she had created during the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal which had fetched her a silver medal.

Her timing in Tokyo does not come among the top five athletes of the 2019 National Games in Peshawar where she had claimed gold in the same event. And the result made it clear that she had not trained properly. This correspondent asked Najma through a whatsapp message about her poor show but she did not reply.

On Sunday too this correspondent asked her whether she would be able to clock her best. She did not respond despite seeing the message. The interesting thing is that the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) had declined her entry for the Tokyo Olympics but the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) had reinstated it, using its international influence. The AFP did not own her for the Tokyo Games.

The AFP was of the view that her entry had been declined in the best interests of Pakistan’s sports. The AFP knew that she had not trained and it was not good to send her in that state. This correspondent has learnt that Najma had been training at Lahore before Eid-ul-Fitr. The camp had been arranged by the AFP for her through the support of the PSB. However, she did not turn up for the camp at Lahore after Eid despite repeated contacts from the AFP.

It has been learnt that on the request of the AFP the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) then asked WAPDA Sports Board about the whereabouts of Najma. WAPDA informed the PSB that she had been undergoing training at Faisalabad under a coach appointed by WAPDA. The AFP had no knowledge about that.

Najma has been a splendid all-round athlete. Her fine performances in the 2019 National Games and South Asian Games had forced the AFP to recommend her name for the Tokyo Games against a wild card.

This was the second time that Najma competed in the Olympics. She was also part of Pakistan’s contingent for the 2016 Rio Games.