Kishmala creates history

January 14, 2024

Let’s hope we see a healthy Pakistan contingent at the Paris Olympics this summer

Kishmala creates history

Shooting continues to give good news to the nation. Kishmala Talat created history when she blasted her way into the Paris Olympics through her splendid performance in the Asian Qualification event in Jakarta a few days ago.

The Rawalpindi-based shooter engineered 575 points in the first round in the women’s 10m air pistol which was enough for her to earn a direct quota for the Olympics. She also qualified for the final but there she failed to defeat India’s Esha Singh and had to be content with a silver medal.

Kishmala, who is a university student, is the first sportswoman of Pakistan who has secured direct entry into the Olympics.

Kishmala and Gulfam Joseph later also snared bronze in the 10m air pistol mixed team event and both these shooters will also feature in the mixed team event in the Paris Olympics.

Gulfam and Ghulam Mustafa Bashir had already qualified for the Olympics. So three shooters have qualified for the Olympics and a few more are expected in the coming months.

Kishmala has been the most impressive shooter of Pakistan. Last summer she pulled off a bronze in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou which was the first ever medal for the nation in the Asian Games shooting history.

Usman Chand, Khurram Inam and Farrukh Nadeem are set to feature in the Asian Shooting Championship (shotgun) which was scheduled to begin in Kuwait on Saturday (January 13). This is also a qualifying event for the Paris Olympics.

There is a chance for both Usman Chand and Farrukh Nadeem to qualify for the Paris Olympics. If they fail to make a cut for the world’s most prestigious event through this event then the duo will have another opportunity to earn quota places in the World Qualification tournament which will be held in Doha from April 19-29.

So, I would say that shooting is emerging as a strong sector of Pakistan sports and we should now focus on this discipline. These shooters who have qualified for the Olympics have been trained by a Russian coach and the results have been amazing so far.

But claiming a medal in the Olympics is not a joke. We will have to prepare our shooters very well for that. The state will need to help them besides the corporate sector which is very important if we want to see any big achievement in the Olympics from our shooters.

Yes, medal chance in the Olympics is there. Look, the country’s ace shooter Ghulam Mustafa Bashir won bronze in the 2022 World Championship in Egypt in 25 metre rapid fire pistol and earned a quota place at the 2024 Paris Olympics. It was the same event in which Joseph Gulfam also qualified for the Paris Olympics in the 10m air pistol.

Kishmala creates history

If Bashir can earn a medal in the World Championship why can’t he do it in the Olympics? He can do it but for it the authorities will need to jointly back him and the rest of the shooters so that they could prepare well. NRAP also aims to field them in a couple of Olympics test events. Let’s see how we prepare our shooters who have put a lot of interest in the coming Olympics. It would be interesting to see how they deliver at the biggest stage.

Our journey towards the Olympics so far has been good. The country’s premier javelin thrower and world silver medallist Arshad Nadeem is already in the Olympics. As he has the experience of playing in Tokyo Olympics and three World Championships it is expected that he will easily finish at the victory podium in Paris keeping in view his last year’s medal-winning performance in the World Championship in Hungary.

To claim a medal he will need to regain his fitness first. I talked to him a few days ago. He is committed and wants to win a medal this time in the Olympics after having narrowly missed podium finish in the Tokyo Olympics where he finished fifth.

He told me that he wants to regain his top fitness and if he fails to do so, he can still pull off a medal in the Olympics.

He said that he was also injured during the World Championship in Hungary last year but won a historic silver for the country.

This is what I wanted to hear from him, commitment and resolve. Arshad skipped the Asian Games last year due to a right knee injury.

Eventer Usman Khan is another athlete who has qualified for the Olympics but he will need to maintain his position until the end of the qualification timeline.

But in Usman’s case the authorities will need to back him. He had also qualified for the Hangzhou Asian Games but his entry was not sent and it is the job of the state to inquire why he was ignored.

National boxers these days are preparing in the worst environment in Lahore for the Olympics Qualifiers. A senior coach Tariq Siddiqui, who was imparting training to the boxers, fell sick due to extreme cold and I was amazed to see him lying at the hospital all alone. It was the responsibility of the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) to look after him. Hope in future the federation avoids such blunders.

Our wrestlers are also begging for foreign training tour to prepare for the Olympics qualifiers. So far not even a local camp has been arranged for them by the authorities.

We also have a little bit of qualifying chance in taekwondo.

Pakistan No 2 javelin thrower Mohammad Yasir Sultan is also expected to make a cut for the Olympics if the federation acts seriously and ensures his presence in a few qualification events before the June 30 timeline.

Let’s see how our hockey team performs in the Olympics Qualifiers in Muscat. Top three teams will make it to the Olympics from the eight-team event being hosted by Oman.

Hope this time a healthy Pakistan contingent will be seen in the Paris Olympics.

Kishmala creates history