ISLAMABAD – Pakistan pole vault national team coach M Ayub pinned high hopes on Rehan Anjum to win gold medal for the country in the upcoming South Asian Games in India.
Talking to The Nation, national record holder in pole vault Ayub said: “I was national champion from 1995 to 2006 and had won three international gold medals and still hold the SAF Games record, which I set in 2006 in Colombo, Sri Lanka with 4.81 meter. I had won gold medal in Karachi international event and in India and won a whopping 17 national gold medals in the pole vault competitions as well.”
Ayub said he had not conducted any coaching courses, nor had he trained at international level, even then he had produced a number of national champions. “I am coaching both male and female players. Promising athlete Sidra is my product. I brought her in 2011 and in her very first year, she became national champion and since then she is undefeated. I also worked with a number of other pole vault players.
“Now I have a bright junior in shape of Rehan Anjum, who, if provided with facilities and equipment, can not only win gold medal in the upcoming SAF Games but also can win gold at any given stage at Asian level. I have also Adnan Anjum and M Jaffar, but they are not fit at the moment. Jaffar is also not in the camp. It is quite unfortunate that SAF Games organisers don’t include female pole vault category, which is injustice to them. The games organizers should consider including female category in the next edition so that the girls may exhibit their prowess at international level,” he added.
Ayub said the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) must construct gymnasiums in other major cities, as presently only Army and PSB had the facilities, where players could practice. “I also request PSB DG Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera to provide special quality pole vaults to the players, as it will make a lot of difference in players’ performance. Vaults should be imported from USA.”
“I am sure if female pole vault events will be included in Doha and Fajr International events, Sidra can win gold medal as she is fully prepared and just awaiting for one chance to show her class,” he asserted.
Sharing her views, Pakistan’s undisputed pole vault queen Sidra Bashir, 23, said: “It is quite unfortunate that SAF Games doesn’t include female category. I never had opportunity of competing at international event. I just need one chance and it is my promise despite no exposure, I will not let the federation and country down and give my 100 percent to win medal for the country.”
She requested Army Sports Board (ASB) Director General Brig Ghulam Jillani to arrange international training for females and coaches abroad. “Brig Ghulam Jillani is a keen sports lover and always ready to provide facilities to players. Army takes good care of players and has provided shoes and vaults imported from USA, but we have to deposit them after training. The PSB should help us out and import vaults, as it will defiantly enhance our performances. It is quite unfortunate that the PSB DG has given Nike shoes to seven female players, while we are 12 in the camp, while male players and coaches were completely ignored. It is unfair as we have been working hard and deserve equal and just treatment. I hope Dr Ganjera will provide shoes of same quality to the remaining players and coaches as well. We need sprinter shoes of top quality, which will help us to grip better.”
“I would like to request Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) president Major General (R) M Akram Sahi to make sure the players should be sent at least a week prior to the start of the international event to get adjust to the conditions and train alongside top competitors,” Sidra concluded.