Adnan Siddiqui deplores the treatment of Olympians in Pakistan

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Pakistani Arshad Nadeem came close to winning an Olympic medal in the men’s javelin throw final on Saturday but finished fifth, while India’s Neeraj Chopra won gold. Likewise, weightlifting champion Talha Talib lost two pounds less than history at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on July 25.

Thus, several took to Twitter last week to urge Pakistani authorities and relevant sports associations to support and pay special attention to athletes and sportsmen like Nadeem and Talib, so that their talents can be honed. Among those people was actor Adnan Siddiqui, who took to Twitter to share the tragic example of the late Olympian turned rickshaw driver, Muhammad Ashiq, who died in Lahore in 2018 after being ignored and abandoned by his own country.

“The hypocrisy of making them heroes when they bring medals and letting them live a life of misery,” Siddiqui lamented on the microblogging site with a photo of the late cyclist who had to resort to driving of a rikshaw after retirement. “These champions are our pride, our responsibility. Take care of our stars! he added.

Ashiq competed at the 1960 Rome Olympics in the men’s 1,000m sprint time trial at the age of 25. Four years later, at the Tokyo Olympics, he competed in the 4000m individual pursuit and the 4000m team pursuit. Although he did not win any Olympic medals, Ashiq did win laurels at the Asian Games. He also represented Pakistan Railways in national competitions before retiring from the sport.

Prime Minister Imran Khan ironically shared a TikTok motivational video on Twitter for athletes nationwide on Sunday, despite Pakistan’s TikTok ban. And naturally, many thought he could do more than provide motivation.

On the same day, actor Mehwish Hayat also tweeted, “I hope Arshad Nadeem’s success provides the ‘catalyst’ we need to invest in our talent. It has to start in schools where sport has to be an integral part of the curriculum. It cannot – like everything else – be a flash in the pan. It’s time to seize the moment!

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