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Sunday Jan 20 2019

No pain, no gain: Palwasha Bashir targets Olympic slot as she sweats it out in court

KARACHI: One of Pakistan’s most celebrated Badminton players, Palwasha Bashir has been there for a quite while, yet she is finding it difficult to get the sport noticed by masses.

The SAF games bronze medalist from Karachi rues that sports like Badminton don’t get much attention from the private sector which is discouraging.

“If private sector wakes up to support non-cricketing sports like Badminton or even Squash or Tennis, then Pakistan can raise in these sports too,” Palwasha told after her intense training session at Karachi’s NBP sports complex under her coach Iftekhar Hussain.

Palwasha suffered a tennis elbow earlier which forced her out of action for few weeks recently, but she is now on road to recovery and aiming to make a complete return next month.

However, the injury couldn’t keep her away from courts.

“I kept training even when I was injured. I did shadow training to keep myself glued to courts. I can’t live without sport. I am now on road to recovery and waiting for a full go-ahead by the doctors so that I can return to competitive badminton,” she said.

Palwasha, who has several trophies to her name, is now eyeing to be among top 100 in an attempt to qualify for next year’s Olympics and to achieve that she is aiming to play maximum tournaments in 2019.

“I want to improve my rankings this year, it was good in 2017 but lack of funds halted my progress. I am now aiming to be among top 100 so that I can qualify for the Olympics,” she said.

“We don’t have facilities here, all the clubs with best quality courts don’t allow everyone to use these courts, and not everyone has access to these clubs. Along with that, you also need to play several tournaments per year to keep in top rankings which require unlimited funds and this is the major hurdle for players in Pakistan,” she explained when asked about general hurdles players face in Pakistan.

When asked what kept her motivated despite so many hurdles to grow in the sport, the national doubles’ champion responded “passion”.

“There’s no gain without pain. An athlete must work hard and struggle to get what he or she aims for. An athlete also needs to sacrifice a lot to achieve the targets,” she said.

“One can’t always be perfect but I always try to achieve perfection and to reach excellence and perfection, you must continue working hard,” Palwasha added.

Talking about the growth of Badminton in the cricket-driven-region, Palwasha stated that India is an example where Saina Nehwal has become a household name and people are supporting non-cricketing sports there too.

She believes that if support is provided, she can be as good as her, or even better than her.

“Saina Nehwal is a big name for India and I also try to do the same what she did for her country. I aim to bring more and more laurels for Pakistan. I want to do more for Pakistan than what she’s has achieved for India,” Palwasha said.

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