Haider Ali makes history at the Tokyo Paralympics 2020 by becoming the first Pakistani to win a gold medal in the tournament. Haider attained this monumental achievement in Men’s Discus Throw competition, where he threw the discus at a distance of 55.26 meters in his fifth attempt out of the total six, to score the best distance and win the gold medal.
The silver medal was bagged by Ukraine’s Zhabnyak with a 52.43 meters throw, while Brazilian Teixeira de Souza won bronze with a 51.86 throw.
It's #Gold for #PAK! F37 discus thrower Haider Ali wins his country's first medal of the Games!
His throw of 55.26m is a personal best and almost three metres longer than second place! #Tokyo2020 #Paralympics #ParaAthletics pic.twitter.com/SD3rO1qlaF
— Paralympic Games (@Paralympics) September 3, 2021
This is not the first time Haider has created history for Pakistan. The athlete, who suffers from cerebral palsy, took part in 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, China where he won the country’s first ever Paralympic games medal, a silver in Men’s long jump category.
Read more: Arshad Nadeem wins hearts at the Tokyo Olympics final
Haider Ali has won a gold medal for Pakistan in the long jump event at the KL’06 FESPIC Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in November–December 2006.
He also holds the record for his jump of 6.44 meters at the Games.
Recently, he competed in the discus throw at the World Para-Athletics Championship in Dubai in 2019 and won a silver medal for Pakistan.
Unfortunately, just like Arshad Nadeem and Talha Talib, Haider Ali also complained of not having enough support from the government. Adding to his struggles was the covid-19 pandemic, where due to the lockdowns the facilities where these athletes practice were closed and hence Haider Ali missed out on a lot of his training days.
Earlier the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) Media Director Huma Beg had shared that the tickets for the athletes were also bought just a few days before their scheduled arrival in Tokyo. The committee did not have any backing from the government in sending the athletes to the Games, but then the Government of Punjab helped in the end in facilitating the tickets, and most of the preparation was done on self-help basis.
Read more: Iraq’s special athletes go for gold
Speaking to a local newspaper, Ali appealed to the government saying that “My appeal to the Government of Pakistan is that Paralympics is the biggest event in the world, and to even get here and participate here is an honor. I have even won medals for the country. But the request is that the Paralympian’s should get equal support, which the Olympians get, so that we can also train better, compete in a better way, give better results and make Pakistan proud. I am grateful to NPC, because of them I am where I am today. Because of the efforts by the NPC, I am in Tokyo today.”
The nation woke up to the good news and immediately the hashtag #HaiderAli became a top trend on Twitter. From government officials to ordinary people, everyone equally congratulated and thanked Haider Ali for making the nation proud on such a big stage.
And it's #Gold🥇for Pakistan🇵🇰! Kudos to Paralympian #HaiderAli as he made the country proud by winning the first ever gold medal for #Pakistan in #ParalympicsTokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/AUZVrQC880
— Andleeb Abbas PTI (@AndleebAbbas) September 3, 2021
CONGRATULATIONS PAKISTAN. Haider Ali wins Gold Medal in Paralympics. Allhamdolillah.
— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) September 3, 2021
Congratulations to Haider Ali for winning the first-ever Paralympic gold medal for Pakistan! #Paralympics #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/CgnmdnQyQ6
— PTI (@PTIofficial) September 3, 2021
Congratulations Pakistan and kudos to #HaiderAli for creating history and making the countrymen proud by winning first ever gold 🥇 in Paralympics.
More power to you 🎖️👍 pic.twitter.com/aPY2hJdQOW
— Sajjad Mustafa (@Sajjadmustafa01) September 3, 2021