Paris Olympics 2024: Here is the latest update on Pakistan athletes' participation

Five athletes have booked their place in the event already

March 21, 2024
Olympics 2024 will be held in Paris. - IOC

LAHORE: Although Pakistan is not in the list of 93 nations who can avail the universality places in connection with the 2024 Paris Olympics a senior official of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) hopes that they still have a chance to avail such opportunities.

“Yes in the document relating to the universality places Pakistan is not there but sometimes at the last moment opportunity comes and we are vigilant for that so that we could avail any such chance if emerges,” the POA official told The News on Wednesday.

“Sometimes it happens that those nations whose names are there in the NOCs which are eligible to avail universality places qualify directly and their universality status is cancelled. Keeping in view such possibilities chances of availing universality places are always there, although a bit remote,” the official said.

“But what I see is that our four players have already qualified for the Paris Olympics and if one more ensures his qualification then it will be fine. We will definitely get wild card entries in swimming; let’s see whether we will get a female wild card entry in athletics or not,” the official said.

In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics besides other athletes who had either directly qualified or had featured through wild cards, female shuttler Mahoor Shehzad and weightlifter Talha Talib represented the country through universality places.

Although Mahoor’s standard was seen very low in that competitive environment, Talha showed wonders by finishing fifth in the 67 kg weight category by lifting an aggregate weight of 320 kg.

So far three shooters, Ghulam Mustafa Bashir, Gulfam Joseph and Kishmala Talat, javelin thrower and world silver medallist Arshad Nadeem and France-based eventer Usman Khan have qualified for the Paris Olympics.

Usman, however, will need to maintain his position until the end of the qualification timeline. National boxers could not qualify through the last year’s Asian Games and the recently held World Qualification Tournament in Milan which was marred by Zohaib Rasheed’s ditching the country by fleeing after taking away his passport before the formal launch of the competition.

Boxers still have a chance in the shape of the World Qualification Tournament 2 which will be hosted by Bangkok in May-June. But after Zohaib’s matter it is not likely that Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) will send boxers there as there is no one in the current lot who could make it to the world’s most prestigious event to be held in Paris.

Pakistan’s two taekwondokas, Haroon Khan and Hamza Saeed, also failed to qualify for the Paris Olympics after they miserably failed to click in the Asian Qualification tournament in China the other day.

Hazmza fell in the quarter-finals while Haroon exited when he was technically knocked-out in his first fight of the -58 kg. National wrestlers are in the camp here at the PSB Coaching Centre for the last two weeks to prepare for the Asian Olympic Qualifiers to be held from April 19-21 in Kyrgyzstan.

The country’s No2 javelin thrower and the Asian bronze medallist Mohammad Yasir Sultan has a big opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. However, it is disturbing that he has not been given any target by the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) regrading the future events and his entries in them.

It is extremely important for the authorities to tell the athlete so that he could train according to that particular event’s timeline. It’s a huge task for the AFP to handle the athletics affairs at a stage when its former chairman and former international athlete Major General (retd) Mohammad Akram Sahi resigned from his post recently.

Alam Zeb Safi is a senior reporter for The News