Akhtar creates history for Pakistan, 'wins' a quick 25m quota for the Tokyo Olympics
PUNE: On Saturday, 25m fast fire shooter Muhammad Khalil Akhtar created the story for Pakistan when he became the first shooter in his country to win a fee for the Olympic Games.
With the fee, Akhtar, 35, has become eligible to participate in the Tokyo Games. Akhtar is one of the two shooters, whose visa was denied by India before the ISSF World Cup in February.
After missing the Delhi edition, Akhtar had participated in the Beijing and Munich editions of the World Cup, before finally getting a ticket to Tokyo in Rio.
Prior to Akhtar's quota win, 13 Pakistan i shooters have represented their country at the Olympics, but each time they went on the 'Tripartite Commission Invitation's quotas given by the International Olympic Committee through the International Federation of Shooting Sports.
A total of 24 invitation places of the Tripartite Commission are distributed so that a maximum of two berths can be granted in each individual event. Countries must submit an application to the international federation of tripartite berths.
Akhtar entered the 6-man final of 25m rapid fire at the ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro and finished last in the medal round. However, since the other five finalists had already won quota for their countries, Akhtar got one of the two quota places available in this edition of the World Cup.
The second installment went to Kim Junhong of Korea, who had finished seventh and was unable to enter the final.
"It is a big thing for us in Pakistan . First time our shooter has won a quota. Unlike India, where you have a good system, we lack basic things like good coaching and infrastructure," National Pakistan Association of Pakistan 's executive vice president Javaid Lodhi told TOI.
Akhtar is employed with the Pakistan i army. He has qualified for the Tokyo Games, but reaching there won't be easy, feels Lodhi. "We don't have funds to get a good coach for him. Also, it will be an expensive affair to send him for the Tokyo Games. Hope the Pakistan government will support him," Lodhi said.