-- Hamza Malik is an 18-year old swimmer from Lahore. He won his first national gold medal in the 100m breaststroke
In my opinion, Pakistan has done very little to support me as a swimmer, or to support other athletes. The fact that so few are representing Pakistan in the ongoing Olympics shows this. There should have been many more able to go if they received proper support and training from your country.
The problem is that people running the sports system are not committed to sport or to developing talent. This is also a problem in other areas, like education. The support I have received has been from my coach (Ghulam Murtaza), Alpha Aquatics and other individuals.
It is only because of this support that I was able to develop my swimming. Also because of swimming, I was able to get a full scholarship to Government College University and am pursuing my higher studies at a very good level. I think similar opportunities should be given to more people.
The people of Pakistan are all very kind and hospitable. They are friendly and work hard. If I had a chance, I would try and end corruption in the country so things could improve for everyone and every person has the best chance to make use of their ability; I think corruption is one of the biggest challenges our country faces.
I think swimming and other sports need to be developed at the school, college and club levels. Policies need to be changed to help all young people. Those who manage affairs should be people who really want to help the youth and develop sports. If this is done, then perhaps Pakistan will be able to develop the great talent of its people. At the present moment, this is not happening. It is only those who are lucky who can make any kind of progress in life.
I am very proud to be Pakistani. It is a beautiful country with a rich culture. I would like to see it achieve a lot of success.
My ultimate goal is to achieve a qualifying time and represent my country at the Olympic Games as a swimmer with a good standard. I would like to represent Pakistan at other international events and make the people proud of their country. I think sports can help build unity and bring people together.
As told to Mishael Hyat Ayub