Pakistan’s 14th Appearance
The 2022 Commonwealth Games, also referred to as Birmingham 2022, were held from 28 July to August 8, 2022. 72 Commonwealth nations sent their athletes to compete in the 15 games—5 of which were incorporated this year, including road cycling, judo, triathlon, table tennis, and wrestling. It was Pakistan’s 14th appearance in the Commonwealth Games.
Pakistan ranked 18th on the table with two gold, three silver, and three bronze medals. The standings are determined by the number of gold medals won. Pakistan made its debut in the 1954 Vancouver Games but did not participate in any of the other games from 1972 to 1989 due to its temporary withdrawal from the Commonwealth.
However, Pakistan athletes, during the CWG 2022, aimed to best their most successful edition in 1962, where Pakistan had finished 4th on the medal table, winning eight gold medals during the event. In July 2022, 68 Pakistani athletes, 43 men and 25 women, were selected to compete across 12 various sports in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Pakistani athletes took part in athletics, badminton, boxing, cricket (women), hockey, gymnastics, judo, squash, swimming, table tennis, wrestling, and weightlifting. The youngest player, Abdul Shahid, was 16 years old, whereas the oldest player, Muhammad Afzal, was 40 years old.
Pakistan selected 5 athletes for the athletics sporting events, 3 men and 2 women— Shajar Abbas, Jamshad Ali, Arshad Nadeem, Aneela Gulzar, and Anila Baig. Arshad Nadeem broke the Commonwealth Games record with a remarkable throw of 90.18 meters and won the javelin gold for Pakistan. He is Pakistan’s first gold medalist in Commonwealth Games athletics since 1962.
A team of four players was selected shortly after the trials on May 12, 2022. Mahoor Shahzad, a two-time international winner, also competed at the event. The other athletes were Murad Ali, Muhammad Irfan, and Gazala Siddique. Ghazala Siddique, who competed in the Women’s Singles, played exceptionally well against Vicky Chater in two straight sets with scores of 4-21 and 3-21.
Irfan Bhatti played his Men’s Singles round against Chongo Mulenga of Zambia and won the match in two straight sets with scores of 21-6 and 21-19. In the Women’s Doubles round of 32, Mahoor Shehzad and Ghazala Siddique faced Australia’s Chen Hsuan-Yu Wendy and Somerville Gronya.
The Aussie duo beat their Pakistani opponents by 10-21 and 13-21. Mahoor played her Women’s Singles round of 64 match against Priyanna Devirani Ramdhani and showed great dominance over her opponent. She beat her by 10-21 and 8-21. Finally, in the Men’s Singles round of 64, Murad Ali won against Ghana’s Dromo Tamakloe by 21-9 and 21-8.
Five boxers qualified for the event at the 2022 Birmingham Games, four men and one woman in different weight divisions. The boxers were Zohaib Rasheed, Ilyas Hussain, Suleman Baloch, Nazeer Ullah Khan, and Mehreen Baloch. Zohaib Rasheed was ruled out after technical delegates of the boxing competition did not include his name in the draws of the competition.
Illyas Hussain defeated Anthony Joseph of Trinidad and qualified for the pre-quarterfinal round, whereas, Suleman Baloch was beaten by Shiva Thapa of India. Nazeer Ullah Khan lost to England’s Lewis Williams, while Mehreen Baloch went down 0-5 to Sri Lanka’s Sajeewani Cooray Muthuthanthri.
As a result of their ICC women’s T20I ranking of April 1, 2022, Pakistan qualified for the tournament. The 15-member squad was led by Bismah Maroof. This was the first time in Commonwealth Games history that cricket was played in the T20 women’s format. Pakistan women’s cricket team was defeated out of Commonwealth Games 2022 with a 44-run loss by Australia.
On July 19, 2022, only one gymnast from Pakistan was selected for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. National athlete Mohammad Afzal, who competed in three apparatuses in gymnastics, could not perform well and was disqualified from the medal race when he finished last.
As per the FIH World Rankings, the Pakistan men’s hockey team qualified for the event at Commonwealth Games 2022. They competed with South Africa, New Zealand, Scotland, and Australia. Australia beat Pakistan and forced the national hockey team out of the 2022 Games.
Pakistan selected two judokas for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, including Shah Hussain Shah who won a silver at the 2014 Glasgow Games. The other athlete was Qaisar Khan. Shah Hussain Shah won Pakistan its first medal in the Commonwealth Games 2022 as he beat his South African opponent in judoka to secure a bronze medal. Qaisar Khan was knocked out in the men’s 100 kg round of 16 by New Zealand’s Jason Koster.
A four-member team was selected to represent Pakistan in squash at the quadrennial event. Two athletes were selected from each gender. The athletes were Tayyab Aslam, Nasir Iqbal, Amna Fayyaz and Faiza Zafar.
Pakistan’s squash duo Faiza Zafar and Amna Fayyaz on Sunday defeated Canada’s pair Nicole Bunyan and Hollie Naughton in women’s doubles plate semi-final. However, they lost their women’s doubles plate final to the Australian pair Alex Hayden and Jess Turnbull.
Athletes Haseeb Tariq, Bisma Khan, Jehanara Nabi, and Mishael Ayub were named by Pakistan for swimming. In a disappointing turn of events, none of Pakistan’s swimmers went past the first round.
Initially, four players had been selected for the competition on March 16, 2022, but later only one confirmed athlete was sent to the Commonwealth Games. Fahad Khawaja won all three men’s singles matches, against Guyana’s Christopher Franklin, Bangladesh’s Mohutasin Ahmed, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Derron Douglas, in group 15 to progress to the round of 32. Then in round 32, Khawaja lost to England’s Paul Drinkhall.
Pakistan Weightlifting Federation was set to send a six-member squad to the 2022 Commonwealth Games, but only three qualified after doping tests. Athletes Haider Alimen, Hanzala Dastigir Butt, and Nooh Dastgir Butt participated. Nooh Butt set the record to win the first gold for Pakistan in the Games.
The 24-year-old lifted 170kg and 173kg respectively in the first and second rounds but remained unable to lift 174kg. Regardless, he won the first gold medal; he’s the second in weightlifting after Shuja-Uddin Malik who was the country’s first weightlifter to bag the gold medal for the country in 1962.
The other two weightlifters, Haider Ali and Hanzala Butt, were not able to achieve such feats. Haider was in fifth place in the men’s 81kg, and Hanzala landed in the last position in the men’s 109kg.
Six wrestlers from Pakistan participated in the Commonwealth Games 2022: Muhammad Sharif Tahir, Tayab Raza, Ali Asad, Inam Butt, Zaman Anwar, and Inayatullah. All of the participants won medals except Tayab Raza, who was defeated by India’s Deepak Nehra. Inayatullah won a bronze medal for the country after defeating his Scottish rival, Ross Connelly, in the Men’s Free Style 65kg wrestling.
Zaman Anwar secured the silver medal in the Men’s Freestyle 125kg event. Tahir lost to India’s Naveen Naveen in Men’s Freestyle 74kg event but managed to obtain a silver medal. Lastly, Ali Asad defeated New Zealand’s Suraj Singh in a remarkable performance to bag a bronze medal in the Men’s Freestyle 57kg category.
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