Posts Tagged ‘ Asian Games ’

Afghan Coach Says He Used India Example To Inspire Team

As Reprted by ESPN CricInfo

Afghanistan coach Rashid Latif has said he inspired his team for the Asian Games final against Bangladesh by narrating how underdogs India beat the all-conquering West Indies to win the 1983 World Cup. “The Indians were not as fit as their rivals, nor was their skill superior to the West Indies, yet on that day they played better and won,” Latif told AFP. “My team here was the fittest and they had good skills too, but I warned the boys not to take Bangladesh lightly.”

Having stunned favourites Pakistan in the semi-final yesterday, Afghanistan proved worthy opponents against Bangladesh, taking the final to the last over before losing by five wickets.

Latif, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper, said Afghanistan’s ultimate aim was to play Test cricket. “The result proved me right, but I am happy we are on the right path. We will improve further if we play the big teams regularly. The aim is to be a Test nation soon and play against the best. I want to bring youngsters into the game so the sport continues to grow in Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan have made rapid strides, rising through the ranks from the lower divisions of the World Cricket League. They played in the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean earlier this year and narrowly missed qualifying for the 2011 World Cup.

Mohammad Nabi, the Afghanistan captain, said passion for the game kept the players going. “The war has been going on for three decades, but we have been playing cricket there for the last 10 years despite the lack of proper facilities or grounds. Cricket has caught on back home. More people are playing the game or following it on radio and TV.”

Nabi was disappointed to lose the final, but said the silver medal had buoyed his team for the five-day Intercontinental Cup final against Scotland in Dubai from December 2. “We want to play as much as possible, wherever possible. The aim is to join the big league.”

Afghanistan received backing from Bangladesh, who won their country’s first ever Asian Games gold medal. “We are celebrating, but I hope Afghanistan will celebrate too because they deserve the silver medal,” Imran Sarwar, the Bangladesh coach, said. “They are a very good side and I am sure they will become a top team in the near future. Their rise has been remarkable.

“This was not an easy win at all. We expected them to make around 100 or 110, but they went to 118 and then kept us under pressure till the end.”

Pakistanis for Peace Editor’s NoteCongratulations to the Afghan Cricket team for winning the Silver medal at the Asian Games in China. Along the way, they beat traditional cricket playing teams such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka and proved to be worthy competitors. In a country ravaged by over 30 years of war and conflict, the Afghani people should be proud of the accomplishments of their team and build upon this success in uniting their fractured nation.

Wave of Joy Sweeps the Nation

As Reported by Dawn

A wave of joy swept across Pakistan as it overcame a lackluster Malaysia in the final of the 16th Asian Games hockey. The win secured for Pakistan its first gold at the Games in 20 years and in the process an automatic berth at the 2012 Olympics in London.

The historic moment was witnessed by a large group of supporters that had thronged the various hockey centers across Pakistan to watch the final on the large screens that had been set up for the day. And the fans weren’t disappointed as their team put up a clinical performance to record a 2-0 win over Malaysia.

“It’s really a huge success for us and it’s extremely good news for the entire nation,” said Nawaz Ali as he waved national flag at a busy intersection of the capital Islamabad with scores of other Green Shirts supporters.

“It is good to see our team winning. We are happy because this is our national game,” said another man waving hockey sticks in joy. He said the victory would boost players’ morale and help them get more victories in future.

In Peshawar, people came out from their homes after the win and performed traditional dance moves to celebrate the moment.

“Hats off to Pakistan hockey players for their memorable win by giving joy and pleasure to 170million people,” a young hockey fan and resident of Qisakhwani, Abdur Rahim said. “The moment when our national anthem was played in China was historic and it would be remembered for a long time.

There were similar scenes in Lahore and Karachi where people even crowded the small TV screens at the international airports to catch a glimpse of the final.

There were also reports that many people at various workplaces extended their lunch to fit in the game that ended around 15:30 pst. The people in question, however, chose to remain anonymous.

Also brimming with delight was the Sports Minister of Pakistan Mir Ejaz Hussain Jakhrani who announced a cash award of Rs 5 million for the gold medal winning hockey team. He also paid glowing tributes to the squash team which also won gold in the team event beating their highly touted Malaysian opponents.

Pakistani Women Break Taboos in Winning Asiad Gold

As reported by Reuters

Sana Mir, captain of the Pakistan women’s cricket team that won a gold medal at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, had other ideas.

“I belong to Abbotabad where girls are not encouraged to take up sports leave alone cricket but my family was supportive and made it possible for me to play cricket and study as well,” Mir said after a triumphant return home on Sunday.

“I hope our victory will serve as a catalyst for women’s sports in Pakistan.”

The women’s team, wearing their green team blazers, were garlanded and showered with rose petals in a rousing welcome at Karachi airport after winning the gold medal in a one-sided final against Bangladesh on Saturday.

“This welcome is like icing on the cake after our victory,” Mir said.

Pakistani media greeted the gold medal as a victory for women in the country.  “Looking for positive faces to show the world, Pakistan need go no further than its sportswomen,” the Dawn English daily newspaper said in an editorial.

“Despite the many restrictions they face, Pakistani women have done well in the field of sports from time to time.”  “Unfortunately too little has been done to encourage these brave young women,” the News daily paper said.

“We never dreamt one day women’s cricket would be acknowledged this way,” said Mir. “The day we won the medal I called up my family to thank them for their support.”

In a country where cricket remains a passion despite the spot-fixing allegations surrounding the men’s team, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been giving steady exposure to the women’s team.

“The fact that we have played regularly since last year in International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments and against better opposition has helped these girls gain confidence,” said Bushra Aitzaz who heads the women’s wing in the PCB.

Pakistan Women’s Cricket Team Relishes Spotlight in Guangzhou

As Reported by The China Daily

The Guangzhou Asian Games have made Sana Mir, Captain of the Pakistan Women’s Cricket Team, feel like a big-screen star.

Pakistan, the tournament’s No 1 seed, easily won its game against newcomer China by nine wickets on Monday, but that sparkling effort was not what truly impressed Mir.

“We never get this kind of media coverage back at home. I am just so glad the sport made it to the Asian Games,” said the 26-year-old. “There is always TV coverage when the Men’s Cricket Team plays in Pakistan because it is huge, but you never see us playing on big screens or TVs,” she said.

Although Pakistan has 500 to 600 professional women players under the age of 19, and about 1,000 to 1,200 playing at the senior level, they are overshadowed by the men’s game, said Ayesha Ashhar, Manager of the Women’s Team.

“Our earnings can’t compare with what the men make. It’s the love of the sport that keeps us going,” said Mir. “We would like to be treated and rewarded just like the Men’s Team.”

Unlike some of the women players whose families are against them playing due to strict traditions, Mir’s family is happy for her to play the game. “I have to thank my parents and brother for their support, otherwise I couldn’t have made it this far.”

Meanwhile, Ashhar said women’s cricket in Pakistan has improved rapidly over the past two to three years, thanks to an effective domestic structure which helps players to train and progress at a young age.

“The team’s performance at the international level wouldn’t be as good as it is now without that.”

She also said China definitely gave the No 1 seed a surprise in Monday’s match – the first between the two countries.

“For a young team that only has three years’ of history, what China did on the field was excellent – especially the bowling,” the manager said.

Currently all of the Chinese players are converts from other sports, including Rugby, Softball, Volleyball and Athletics.

“Cricket needs many years to become established in a country. For China, the challenge is to attract enough talented players and coaches. But I believe when China chooses to develop a sport, it succeeds,” Ashhar said.

“All we need now is time,” said Liu Rongyao, Manager of China Women’s Team. “In ten years’ time, China will be among the top three women’s teams in Asia.”

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