KARACHI: Long jumper Haider Ali made Pakistan proud on September 13 as he won a bronze medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio.
The 31-year-old bagged the medal in the long jump event of the T-37 class by managing a distance of 6.28 metres. He only fell behind Brazil’s Mateus Evangelista Cardoso on the second place with 6.53 metres and China’s Shang Guangxu on the top place with 6.77 a world record at the Paralympic Games.
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Haider Ali poses with the winners of the long jump event. PHOTO: REUTERS
He remains the only athlete to finish among top three in the Pakistan’s 24-year history at the Paralympic Games.
“I won the bronze medal, thanks to Allah,” Ali updated his status on Facebook after the event. He had also asked Pakistanis to pray for him before the event.
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Ali was the lone participant from Pakistan in Rio for this year’s Paralympics games and his heroics got the national anthem playing in the arena with him on the podium.
It was a huge achievement for Ali, who also competed at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games and took silver in the same event.
Ali is the only Pakistani to have won medals at the Paralympics Games despite the country making its debut in 1992.
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Meanwhile, till last month, the National Paralympics Committee (NPC) was struggling with the funds to send the athletes to Rio. They also appealed for sponsorships on their Facebook page in order to send the players for the Games.
However, with the help of the Pakistan Sports Board, NPC was able to send coach Akbar Ali Mughal and manager Amna with long jumper Ali.
Ali’s victory is a proud moment: PSB director
The PSB Director Akhtar Ganjera emphasised that Ali’s achievement will promote Paralympics in country while his success has made history for Pakistan, despite the challenges that Paralympics athletes face in the country.
“It is a very proud moment for all of us,” Ganjera told The Express Tribune. “The Paralympics athletes have to overcome a lot. I got to know Ali when he was preparing for the Games. They have all kinds of challenges to face, like the need of proper shoes and special track for them. Mostly, Ali prepared on his own.”
Ganjera said Paralympics medal is worth the same respect as the one from Olympics.
“You see winning at Paralympic Games brings the same honour to the country as the one from Olympics,” he said, adding that it was Ali’s spirit that converted his dream into a reality.
Also, the PSB has got instructions from the government to take the Paralympics under its wing and fund the athletes. Thus, the NPC will now work under the PSB instead of the Department of Special Education.
“Now we will work for Paralympics too and surely they will have more funds for the athletes,” said Ganjera.
Moreover, here is how the country reacted to Ali’s victory
Haider Ali gives his country an Eid gift. A bronze medal at the #Rio #Paralympics. Kudos to the young man who… https://t.co/CqQxEbINdf
— afia salam (@afiasalam) September 14, 2016
#ProudMoment WellDone Haider Ali #Paralympics https://t.co/fDNSi0aRh7
— Shamama Abbasi (@shamama_abbasi) September 14, 2016
Haider Ali of Pakistan won #bronze in the men’s long jump at the Rio #Paralympics, Sept. 13. Photo by Ricardo Moraes pic.twitter.com/G6lzpD3rYg
— Reuters Pakistan (@ReutersPakistan) September 14, 2016
Pakistan have a #Bronze medal at the #Paralympics! Haider Ali has won a bronze medal in the Long Jump competition. pic.twitter.com/SZDwzg6ust
— PakPassion Sport (@PakPassionSport) September 13, 2016
CONGRATULATIONS!! #PAKISTAN’S LONE RANGER IN #Paralympics HAIDER ALI WON #bronze IN LONG JUMP. HE WON SILVER IN 2008 pic.twitter.com/8gykeXyv3I
— Zeeshan Ahmed (@mrsportsjourno) September 13, 2016
While our regular athletes failed to win a medal at the Rio Olympics,Haider Ali won bronze for #Pak in the long jump event at Paralympics
Courtesy : Express Tribune