Pakistan Celebrates Outstanding Victories at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin

Pakistan Celebrates Outstanding Victories at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin

Pakistan’s cycling sensation, Muhammad Safeer Abid, etched his name in the annals of sports history by clinching victory in the 10km time-trial event at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, boosting Pakistan’s gold medal count to ten. 

Cyclists led the medal haul with four golds, while powerlifters secured three, track and field athletes bagged two, and one was won in badminton. 

In a race against time, Safeer completed the 10km track in 23 minutes and 2.02 seconds, edging out Tom Hsu of Great Britain, who followed closely in second place with a time of 23 minutes and 2.15 seconds. Another British competitor, Ben Fea Lankshear, claimed the third position with 23 minutes and 23.43 seconds. Safeer’s victory came in the M04 division. 

“These are exceptional results from Pakistani athletes,” Special Olympics Pakistan (SOP) media spokesperson, Asif Azeem, commented to The Express Tribune. His remarks came shortly before the Pakistani contingent participated in the games’ closing ceremony. 

He noted that the athletes had both an enjoyable and rewarding experience, on and off the field. Azeem credited SOP chairperson Ronak Lakhani’s strategic decision to bring the team to Berlin several days ahead of the games, allowing ample time for acclimatization and training at the facilities. 

In the women’s 500m individual time-trial event, Pakistani cyclists Madiha Tahir and Amina Arshad made their mark. Tahir bagged a silver medal with a timing of one minute and 14.15 seconds, narrowly missing gold by .55 seconds to Belgium’s Anne-Sophie van Zandweghe. Arshad followed closely, clinching bronze with one minute and 16.82 seconds. 

Pakistan’s men’s unified team also displayed their prowess in the M03 division of the futsal event, securing a silver medal. The team paved its way to the final by triumphing over Germany with a 2-1 win, thanks to goals from Shahabuddin and unified partner Muhammad Ali Baloch. 

In the final against Oman, Baloch was again instrumental, scoring two goals while Muhammad Aqeel added one. 

Read More: Pakistani Duo Clinches Gold at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin

Pakistan’s bocce players – Simran Mahesh Lal Devnani, Mahenoor Tahir, Farham Aslam, and Jamilur Rehman – also made a mark, bagging silver medals in the team event in the M02 division. After overcoming Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, they put up a spirited fight in the final against Bangladesh, which saw Bangladesh take home the gold with a slim 9-8 victory. Farhan additionally secured a bronze medal in the singles bocce event, winning two out of three M01 division matches. 

For many athletes, this tournament marked their first international competition and for some, even their first trip abroad. Azeem warmly described the athletes’ awe and enjoyment of their time in Berlin, from their fascination with the city’s uninterrupted power supply to their sightseeing and shopping expeditions, as well as the warm reception by the local Pakistani community. 

He also paid tribute to the dedicated coaches and unified partners who trained diligently with the 87 athletes who participated in 11 different sports disciplines. “The games meant the world to the athletes and the coaches, who imparted sports rules and techniques in training camps across Pakistani cities. This achievement is as much theirs as it is the athletes’,” Azeem concluded. 

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