Athlete Haider Ali made history on Friday by winning a gold medal in the discus throw competition at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games, becoming the first Pakistani to do so.
Haider Ali achieved a 55.26 metre throw at his fifth attempt out of a total of six to score the best distance — almost 3m longer than Ukraine’s Mykola Zhabnyak who scored 52.43m to come in second place.
Brazilian Joao Victor Teixeira de Souza Silva won bronze with a throw of 51.86m.
The official Paralympics Games accounted posted on Twitter that the attempt was a “personal best” for Ali.
Celebrating his win, the athlete said the gold medal would be “very important” for para-sports in Pakistan since others would be able to see what can be achieved through hard work.
“I hope to be a role model for other people that have a disability [and who] don’t compete in sports to take part in para-sports,” he said.
Haider Ali tweeted: “Pakistan’s National Anthem after Winning Gold Medal”
Sports Journalist Faizan Lakhani tweets: “Some medals won by #HaiderAli…”
Punjab Sports Minister Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti said Ali had made the entire nation proud by winning the gold medal. He announced a reward of Rs2.5 million for the Olympian, saying it would be given to him by Chief Minister Punjab: Usman Buzdar at a ceremony upon his return.
The United States Embassy in Islamabad also congratulated him for the win and said he was “used to creating history”.
Ali — who hails from Gujranwala — suffers from cerebral palsy. This is not the first time he has won a medal at the Paralympics. However, his previous medals were for long jump.