Special Olympics Summer Games 2011: Day one, Pakistan’s first gold medal in the bag
By Natasha Raheel
Published: June 28, 2011
Billawal Aslam bagged the first gold medal for the country in the 1000-metre (m) men’s cycling event. PHOTO: FILE
Pakistan started their campaign at the Special Olympics Summer Games 2011 impressively when 17-year-old Billawal Aslam bagged the first gold medal for the country in the 1000-metre (m) men’s cycling event. Pakistan women’s basketball team also emerged as the winners after defeating Israel 14-13 in a close encounter in Athens.
Aslam outran five other competitors and covered the distance in two minutes and 14.14 seconds to secure first place, while Muhammad Nazeer Ahmed finished at fourth place, covering 1000m in two minutes and 23.21 seconds.
Aslam, who picked up a shoulder injury during a practice session, will participate in the 10-kilometre road race event tomorrow
“Winning a gold medal after an injury shows that Aslam is an amazing athlete,” coach Ishrat Zehra told The Express Tribune. “I have been training him for two months and I can say that he has star quality.”
Aslam won the race with a difference of 56 seconds ahead of Mexico’s Johnny Tovar and India’s Yogendra Kumar Shrivas.
“Now that we have received our first gold medal, we are looking to bag more,” said delegation head Ronak Lakhani.
Women’s team impresses
Meanwhile, the women’s team held their own in the first match of the basketball event when they led the match against Israel 6-1 at interval.
However, they faced resistance from their opponents in the second half but ultimately sealed the victory 14-13. They will now take on Kazakhstan in the next match in the preliminary rounds.
However, the men’s basketball team lost to Indonesia 17-7 in a one-sided encounter during the preliminarily rounds.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2011.