Pakistan starts poorly in Commonwealth Games

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From our correspondent

BIRMINGHAM: It was a pathetic start from the national athletes on day-1 of the Commonwealth Games here on Friday.

In boxing, swimming, gymnastics and badminton Pakistani athletes failed to put in their best in an ideal weather condition which is fit for sports.

In boxing here at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) Suleman Baloch was downed by India’s major boxer Shiva Thapa in the welterweight (60kg-63.5kg) category’s round of 32 bout 5-0. The score remained 30-26, 30-25, 30-26, 30-26 and 30-23.

Now on Saturday (today) talented boxer Nazeerullah Khan will face Lewis Williams of England at 6pm PST in 86-92kg preliminaries while Ilyas Hussain is set to challenge Moroke Mokhoto of Lesotho at 10:30 PST also on Saturday.

National swimmers also remained off-colour as no one who competed on Friday could achieve their personal best time.

Olympian Bisma Khan finished at the 31st spot out of 38 swimmers who competed in the 100m butterfly by clocking 1:08.21 timing. Bisma, whose personal best in this event is 1:06.38, ended sixth in her heat, which featured eight competitors.

“My best event is 50m freestyle in which I will compete tomorrow. My best in this is 27.27 seconds and I will want to make it better. I will also compete in 100m freestyle,” said Bisma, who featured in the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Meanwhile, Olympian swimmer Syed Haseeb Tariq finished at the 35th spot out of 55 swimmers in the men’s 50m butterfly by clocking 29.97, much short of his personal best time of 26.17. Although he topped his heat, carrying eight swimmers.

Mishael Aisha Hyat Ayub finished at the 31st spot out of 33 swimmers in the women’s 50m breaststroke with a timing of 37.96, just short of her personal best time of 37.50.

She finished sixth in her heat-2 carrying seven swimmers. Jehanara Nabi ended at the 22nd place out of 30 swimmers in the 200m freestyle with a time of 2:13.38, which is short of her personal best time of 2:12.38.

She finished seventh in her heat, carrying eight swimmers. Pakistani swimmers will keep featuring in other events as well on Saturday (today).

It was also the most pathetic beginning from the poorly-prepared national shuttlers as they were humiliated by India in their Group A opening fixture of the mixed team event.

At the NEC in the mixed doubles the pair of B. Sumeeth Reddy and Machimanda Ponnappa defeated the pair of Irfan Saeed Bhatti and Ghazala Siddique, both Pakistan’s No2, 2-0 with the set scores being 21-9, 21-12.

In the men’s singles Srikanth Nammalwar Kidambi got the better of Pakistan’s No 1 Murad Ali 2-0 with the set scores being 21-7, 21-12. Olympian Mahoor Shahzad also did not impress as she was whipped by Venkata Sindhu Pusarla 21-7, 21-6, which handed India a 3-0 lead.

In the men’s doubles the pair of Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Chandrashekar Shetty defeated the pair of Murad Ali and Irfan Saeed 21-21, 21-9 to take a huge 4-0 lead. The women’s doubles match was in progress till filing of the report.

The country’s experienced gymnast Mohammad Afzal, who has been playing in the international circuit for the last 19 years, also failed to impress in floor, rings and vault exercises, finishing at the 17th place out of 18 gymnasts in floor exercise, 12th out of 14 in rings and at the last position in vault.

In squash Pakistan’s top player Nasir Iqbal was scheduled to face Julian Morrison of Jamaica in the men’s singles round of 64 at 10pm PST Friday night. The winner of this show will face Pakistan’s Tayyab Aslam in the round of 32 on Saturday (today). Also on Saturday in the women’s singles squash preliminaries Amna Fayyaz will face Rachel Arnold of Malaysia and Faiza Zafar will meet Yiwen Chan of Malaysia at 10pm PST and 11:15pm PST, respectively.

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