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Glorious Finale Marks End of Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Pakistan’s fruitless quest for medals prompts soul searching at home.

After seventeen days of gruelling action involving 11,000 athletes from 206 countries from around the world competing for 309 medals across 33 sports, Tokyo 2020 Olympics culminated in a colourful closing ceremony on Sunday, 8th August 2021.

Celebrating Japanese culture, the event was built around the theme “Worlds We Share”, underlining the idea that each of us inhabits their own world.

The Covid-19 global pandemic, which delayed the Games for a year, exacted its cruel toll on the ceremony, reducing its spirited performances in front of thousands of empty seats and few athletes in attendance.

Some 436 people related to the Olympics tested positive for the virus since early July. Outside the Olympic bubble, daily cases in Tokyo have more than tripled since the 23rd July opening of the Games.

The United States was able to impose its supremacy over the world of sports one more time, edging China for most golds as well as for most overall medals. China made a point by coming in second ahead of hosts Japan.

Pakistan’s quest for medals remained fruitless as expected – although two of our athletes drew notice both at home and internationally, while India recorded its most successful Olympics with seven medals – one gold, two silver, and four bronze.

The turn of event has given rise to much soul searching in the country. Commentators pooh-poohed Pakistan Olympic Association to sending only ten athletes to the Games and for inadequate training and exposure for those sent. On top of everything else, the grapevine has it that the Pakistan troupe included more officials than athletes.

Also under fire is Pakistan Hockey Federation for the fact that Pakistan failed to qualify for this iterations of Olympics – a badge of ignominy for the side that has won 20 official titles.

Field hockey is the national sport of Pakistan, and yet there is not a single international level hockey stadium in the country – a fact that directed the popular wrath on successive governments.

Talha Talib, the weightlifter who put the legendary Pakistani grit on display for the world to see trained at his own expense as there was no support from the government.

Then there was the javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem who qualified for the final round but failed to make the podium. Arshad Nadeem is also from a small town in Pakistan called Mian Channu.

Before settling on Javelin throw, Arshad also pursued shot-put and discus throw. It was his father Muhammad Ashraf who persuaded him to take up the sport of javelin throw.

Gold medals in Javelin throw in successive Punjab Youth Festivals and an inter-board meet propelled him on to the national stage, bringing offers from all the leading domestic athletics teams, including Army, Air Force and WAPDA.

He secured first position in his group in semi-finals but due to lack of training and facilities he could not win a medal. Whereas another athlete from India who won the gold medal was training in Europe for the two months.

It was Pakistan’s eighteenth appearance at the Summer Olympics. Pakistan became the country with the largest population to not win a single medal at 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Pakistan has not won a medal since 1992 Summer Olympics.

This Olympics was Pakistan’s best performance since 1992, with both Talha Talib and Arshad Nadeem reaching the finals of their events and barely missing out on a medal. Gulfam Joseph also barely missed out on reaching the final of his event.

It’s time to take a look upon the management, Sports Board of Pakistan and Olympic Association of Pakistan as it’s not the way we should treat our athletes. There is a lot of talent in Pakistan. The youngsters need to be polished and it’s not anyone’s responsibility except Minister of sports and the whole sports board. The Paralympics begin on 24th August in Tokyo, whereas Paris is preparing to host the 2024 summer games.

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