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Paralympics 2012 london:Pakistan is going for Gold

By Mahnaz Nadeem
July 24th 2012




All eyes are focused on London this year as the Olympics and the Paralympic Games arrive in Britain. However, there will be one very special team arriving from Pakistan, which hopes to achieve Gold.

From August 29 until September 9, Pakistan’s National Paralympic Committee of Pakistan (NPCP) will be sending its best disabled athletes to the UK to compete in the Paralympic Games, which coincide with the Olympics. The Paralympic Games will convene two weeks after the Olympic games. Just like the Olympics, the Paralympic Games occur every four years.

The essential difference between the Paralympics and the Olympics is that the Paralympics evaluates and categorises competitors according to the classification of their disability. The main purpose of classifying athletes in this way is to ensure that there is an equal playing field for athletes who are amputees, paraplegic, quadriplegic, blind, partially sighted, intellectually disabled or have cerebral palsy.

Each participating athlete, put forward by the NPCP, has a proven track record of excelling in his/her chosen sport despite his/her disability. Pakistan’s athletes will be competing in a range of sports including the Long Jump, Shot Put and Swimming. Haider Ali,from Gujranwala, Punjab has Cerebral Palsy. He broke the world record for Long Jump and won a Silver medal in Beijing in 2008, and he has every intention of winning Gold at the London Games. He will contest in the Long Jump, 100 and 200 metres race. There is also Naeem Masih from Kasur, Punjab, an amputee. At the age of 10 he lost his arm while cutting feed for his father’s livestock. He will be taking part in the 800 and 1500 metres race.

There are also two female athletes who wish to compete: 21 year old Anila Izzat Baig and 20 year old Saima Bashir both want to prove their mettle and make Pakistan proud in the upcoming Games. However the decision to include them is under review by the Paralympic Committee.

All of Pakistan’s Paralympic athletes have, over the years, delivered an excellent track record in international sports events. They have secured 55 medals in total: comprising 16 Gold, 19 Silver and 20 Bronze medals. They show true promise and every intention to win even more medals this year.

Despite prejudice in Pakistan and adverse attitudes towards disability, the NPCP has been able to make headway and has achieved a lot since its inception in 1998. It has been able to organise 33 Training Camps, 22 National Sports Championships and six National Paralympic Games, including one exclusively for women with disability.

Although in the past, the athletes have clearly proved that they are competent and can produce world class results, the NPCP, is met with little support by Pakistan‘s governmental institutions and survives on the good will of private donors. The total cost for this year’s London Paralympic Games (including training and travel in both Pakistan and the United Kingdom) is 9 million Rupees. Out of this the NPCP have managed to raise only 3 million Rupees. They therefore have a shortfall of 6 million which they are desperately trying to source. Promises were made by the Governmental offices in the past, but have as yet never honoured. For example the last federal grant which was promised to them, never materialised. But despite these upsets and obstacles, the charity still continues to motivate and encourage its athletes to carry on. For the NPCP, it is very important that the athletes and the group do not cave in to the pressures. Many athletes continue out of sheer passion for their sport, despite coming from disadvantage backgrounds and not having any income to support themselves.

The NPCP has a number of aims which it hopes, with increased attention and support, it will one day manage to achieve. It hopes it will be able to build a disability centre in the foreseeable future. It also hopes that one day there will be recognition for disabled athletes in Pakistan so that they may receive financial backing just like their able-bodied peers. Having achieved winning status, the Paralympic athletes have never been officially recognised or awarded by Pakistan’s government for their regional or international performances. There is also a long way to go before Pakistan’s media fully appreciates the wonderful work the athletes have achieved. It is hoped one day however, that these athletes will be fully recognised for their sheer hard work and talent, and respected as true ambassadors for Pakistan.

If you would like to support the NPCP, please visit their official website:

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