KARACHI: Almost all the Pakistani athletes featuring in the Asian Grand Prix in Thailand ended their first leg slots with improved timings at the Suphachalasai National Stadium in Bangkok on Tuesday. Although none of them managed to reach the victory podium, they came up with good efforts.
Rabia Ashiq, who will also take part in the London Olympics on wild card along with sprinter Liaquat Ali, showed great improvement in her favourite 800m event final by clocking 2:13.25, better than her previous best of 2:22.83. Rabia finished fifth out of six athletes in the final.
The country’s fastest athlete Liaquat Ali, whose earlier best timing was 10.76, improved to 10.70.
In the National Championship held in Lahore last year, Liaquat had inked 10.1, but that was manually recorded as there was no electronic timer at the venue.
Shot-putter Zeenat Parveen, whose previous best was 13.22, bettered herself to 13.62 metres.
The 800m specialist Farhan Ahmad finished below his previous best timing as he managed to ink 1:50.91. His personal best was 1:50.14.
A top official of the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) termed the performances satisfactory. “I think all the athletes did well in the first leg,” AFP president Major General (retd) Mohammad Akram Sahi told ‘The News’ on Wednesday. “Although Farhan was short of a few fractions, he was not far behind his personal best timing,” he said.
He was moved by the improvement shown by Rabia Ashiq. “I think Rabia has improved a lot which is a healthy sign. Parveen also did a fine job,” he conceded.
“Liaquat also improved his timing. His record 10.1 seconds timing which he had recorded at the National Championship shows that manually recorded timings are not much reliable. There is a great difference between 10.70 and 10.1. But it is also possible that Liaquat may have run faster in the national event,” he said.
The second leg will be held at Kanchanaburi on May 11 and the third leg will be conducted at Chonburi on May 14.
All these athletes were picked by the Asian Athletics Association on the basis of their performances.