ISLAMABAD: Though Pakistani athletes could not bring any trophies home, they provided much entertainment to the sports-crazy South Asian nation in 2021, which began under the shadow of the pandemic. From the country’s favorite game of cricket to a new sensation like javelin throw, the world witnessed the potential of Pakistani sports stars in 2021.
Below are some of the events that made 2021 memorable for Pakistan:
Pakistan crush India for the first time in World Cup
Pakistani fans waited for almost 27 years for their side to beat archrival India in a Cricket World Cup. On October 24, 2021, the Green Shirts ended the jinx by beating India by 10 wickets. The spectacular partnership between skipper Babar Azam and wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan, and pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi’s brilliant three-wicket haul cruised Pakistan to a historic win in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup.
Arshad Nadeem strikes hearts with his javelin
Pakistani athlete Arshad Nadeem shifted the country’s attention from cricket to another exciting game of javelin throw by reaching the Tokyo Olympics final. He went neck and neck with some of the top throwers and proved that Pakistan had much to offer in the game. Arshad missed out on a medal, but he did win hearts of millions of Pakistanis.
Weightlifter Talha Talib’s heroic entry in Olympics
Talha Talib, a 21-year-old Pakistani weightlifter, took part in 67kg category at the Tokyo Olympics. He remained on top until the final round before being bumped down and denied a podium finish. But his resilience amid little support made the nation’s proud.
Haider Ali wins gold at Paralympics
Haider Ali became first Pakistani to win gold medal in discus throw at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Ali made the country proud with his 55.26-meter throw, almost 3m ahead of his Ukrainian opponent’s.
Legendary mountaineer Ali Sadpara dies attempting K-2 winter summit
The year 2021 brought the tragic news about Pakistan’s hero climber Ali Sadpara going missing and eventually being declared dead while attempting to scale the world’s second-highest peak K-2 in winters. Sadpara went missing with Icelandic John Snorri and Chile’s Juan Pablo Mohr on February 5. Sajid Sadpara, the son of Ali Sadpara, later found his father’s body on K-2 bottleneck on July 26. The famed mountaineer was given glowing tributes by the nation.
Black Caps’ last-minute pullout from Pakistan tour
Over the years, Pakistan struggled to revive international cricket at home. The country successfully arranged home series with New Zealand after much effort, but the Kiwis pulled out of the Pakistan tour at the last minute, citing “security” concerns. It came as a major blow to Pakistan, but massive support by the world’s cricketing greats strengthened its narrative of favorable sports environment in the country.