Pakistan has announced they have sent a three athlete strong delegation to compete in the 2016 IPC Asia Oceania Athletics Championships, which officially get underway tomorrow in Dubai. The team includes Haider Ali, Muhammad Awais, and Shahzad Akram.
Haider Ali goes to Dubai to compete in the long jump and the 100 meters. He is Pakistan’s first and only Paralympic medalist, having won a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in the men’s F37/F38 long jump. He has been a world record holder in the long jump. Haider Ali has represented Pakistan two Paralympic Games. At the 2010 Para Asian Games, he set an Asian record in the long jump with a distance of 6.43 metres. This gave him a gold medal, that accompanied his bronze medal in the 100 meters. If he qualified for and competed in Rio, he would be the only Pakistani competitor to represent his country at three Paralympic Games.
Muhammad Awais should have a busy schedule in Dubai, as he is registered to compete in the men’s F37 javelin, discus and long jump events, and the T37 100 meter race. He won a silver medal in the F37 javelin at the 2014 Para Asian Games. At the 2010 Para Asian Games, he won a silver in the javelin. Shahzad Akram is scheduled to compete in the men’s T12 100 meter race and the men’s F12 long jump.
While the country had originally intended to send a larger delegation, funding issues resulted in the country sending a much smaller delegation. The competition is an important one for Pakistani athletes as it gives them an opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. To date, no Pakistani athletes have qualified, and Pakistan appears to have missed the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships for similar funding reasons.