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The Pakistan sports in general has been undergoing a lean patch for quite sometime and under the circumstances it’s not surprising to find the nation getting overjoyed with the rare moment of triumph.
Now it’s Naseem Hameed having become a folk hero after becoming South Asia’s fastest woman by winning the 100-metre race in the regional games held recently in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
She had clocked 11.81 seconds to clinch the gold medal in the race in the 11th South Asian Games to become Pakistan’s first female athlete to win the sprint in the history of the regional competition launched quarter of a century ago.
The 22-year-old Naseem was accorded hero’s welcome upon her return to hometown Karachi and there has been no dull moment for her since then. The life has changed completely for the youngster and she has been elevated to the status of celebrity as quickly as she had covered the distance of those 100 meters.
It’s quite remarkable how life could change within a matter of less than 12 seconds. She was just another athlete before starting the race totally unaware of the fame and fortune to come her way seconds later.
That’s the beauty of life. You can make it big more quickly that you could ever imagine. One can understand her feelings when she was mobbed by hundreds of fans and relatives at the Jinnah Internation Airport in Karachi before the provincial sports minister, Dr Syed Mohammad Ali Shah, drove her to the Governor’s House.
The Sindh Governor Ishraul Ibaad greeted the beaming Naseem with the announcement that she would receive Rupees one million from the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, and another half a million rupees from his own office.
“You have made the nation proud. We are very happy and honoured by your tremendous win and hope that you will not sit on this laurel and win more medals at higher level like Olympics,” the Governor complimented.
“I am on cloud nine. I had forgotten the world for six months and trained really very, very hard under my coach Maqsood Ahmed to achieve this. It is a great moment for me to have brought glory to the country in my event since our athletics standards have been poor of late. And I will do my best to compete and win at higher levels like the Commonwealth Games and Olympics,” Naseem Hameed told the media.
Though, I did expect a welcome on my arrival after extending a good performance in Dhaka but in reality what I saw here was something different and more than my expectations and for this I am very thankful to all, including media,” she added.
“I had left for Dhaka to perform better but what God bestowed on me is more than my aspirations and I am at a loss for words when it comes to express my happiness,” Naseem observed.
“It would be different now altogether. Before this no one knew me and even did not give me any lift but now it would be something different and I would feel proud of it,” she reckoned.
Syed Khalid Mahmood has had passion for writing and sports since childhood. After having edited wall papers and magazines in his student life, he had started contributing to various international publications from an early age.
He joined the mainstream journalism in 1987 and his first book was published later the same year. After having studied at the famed institutions like Cadet College Petaro and Delhi College, he graduated in civil engineering from the prestigious NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, in 1986.
He has earned greater fame and recognition in the field of media being acclaimed as a leading international sports writer, having worked for some of the eminent newspapers like The Frontier Post and The News International besides a brief stint with The Mississauga News. He has also appeared regularly as an analyst on various television channels.
He has already authored 12 books viz Asian Glory (2012); Reflections (2010); Cricket Fever: A History of Pakistan-India Tours (2008); Mission Caribbean: A Guide to ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (2007); World Cup 2003: Top of the Charts (2005); Spotlight on World Cup 2003 (2005); World Cup 1999: So Near Yet So Far (2000); Pakistan’s Sports Greats (1997); Pakistan: The Land of World Champions (1995); Pakistan’s Triumph in World Cup 1992 (1993); The Caribbean Challenge: A History of Pakistan-West Indies matches (1989) and Focus on World Cup (1987 and 1994).
He has had an active social life throughout. Having founded The Young Champs in 1984 he became the District Secretary of Rotary International District 3271 (Pakistan) in 2015-16. Besides being the Founder President of the NED Alumni Association, he is also the Vice President of the Delhi College & Schools Old Boys Association. He is also a member of The Petarian Association, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi Press Club, Pakistan Engineering Council and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.
His write-ups are carried by innumerable portals and websites across the world while his exclusive articles on the web, having grown in popularity, could be accessed on his blog at www.skmsports.com
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