KARACHI: Judoka Shah Hussain will be Pakistan’s flag bearer at the Rio Olympics, kicking off in Rio De Janeiro from August 5, Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director Akhtar Ganjera told DawnNews on Wednesday.
Traditionally, the captain of the Pakistan Hockey Team used to lift the national flag at the Games. The Hockey team’s failure to qualify for Rio made the PSB delay the decision before it finally chose Shah to carry out the flag bearing honours.
Hussain is the son of the medal winning pugilist Hussain Shah and is the only athlete who sealed a place at the coveted multi-sports event under continental quota.
Hussain also won a gold in South Asian Games held in Shillong, India, in February this year.
In Rio, Hussain, who is based in Japan, will be looking forward to emulate his father Hussain Shah’s feats who had won the bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.
It is the first time Pakistan’s national hockey team will not be featuring in the mega event.
Most of the other athletes, too, for the quadrennial sports spectacle got entry through wildcard or continental quota system.
Not even a single boxer could qualify for the Olympics although one of Pakistan’s two non-hockey medals came through boxer Hussain Shah’s success.
The athletes to chip in the Olympics include swimmers Lianna Swan and Haris Bandey who are based abroad and shooters Ghulam Mustafa and Minhal Sohail and two sprinters.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) allows national Olympic committees of various countries with few or without any athletes to participate in the coveted sports events by offering wild cards to their athletes.
A player or a team that has not qualified through the normal competitive channel receives a wildcard entry. In Olympics too, wildcards are offered to countries, whose athletes fail to meet the qualification standards.