Pakistan edge India to win handball gold in SAG

DHAKA: Pakistan showed their prowess in the newly introduced handhall event of the 11th South Asian Games when they subdued their Indian rivals 37-31 in the final to clinch the gold medal at the jampacked National Handball Stadium housed in Bangabandhu Sports Complex on Saturday.

The ‘green shirts’ which recorded an exciting 33-31 victory in the league outing against the same opponent, repeated their high-octane performance with another superb display in the final.

National anthem of Pakistan was played and their flag was hoisted after the presentation ceremony to the players, APP reported.

Shooter Azhar Khan, leading the team, emerged as the most outstanding performer as he blasted as many as ten goals to spearhead his team to an exciting win. Muhammad Nadeem and Naseer Ahmed gave him a great support with seven goals each.

Pakistan held an upper hand throughout the final despite enjoying a slender one point lead at the breather with scoreboard showing 16-15.

“We prepared in a small gymnasium back home…the wooden-floor here was a challenge but I’m glad we overcame it. It’s satisfying to win this event which has been inducted in the Games for the first time,” a beaming Pakistan captain Azhar Khan told a group of Pakistani reporters.

“Pakistan sports is struggling but I hope our victory will boost handball in Pakistan,” Azhar said.

Pakistan Manager Dr. Aftab Iqbal Chaudhry was also delighted with his team’s gold medal.

Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) Chief Lt.Gen. (Retd), Syed Arif Hasan, who watched the whole final, was thrilled by the victory and instantly announced Rs 500,000 cash award for the team while Pakitsan Handball Association also announced an equal amount for the gold medal winning team.

Summarised scores: Pakistan 37 (Azhar Khan 10, Muhammad Nadeem 7, Naseer Ahmed 7, Izhar-ul-Haq 6, Shahid Pervez 5, Nasrullah 2) India 31 (Praseed 8, Shamsher Singh 7, Firoz Khan 6, Naya 5) Pakistan team: Azhar Khan (Captain), Muhammad Nadeem, Naseer Ahmed, Izhar-ul-Haq, Shahid Pervez, Nasrullah, Abid Hussain, Asif Ali, Ozair Atif, Sohaib Ali, Usman Anjum, Zahid, Tahir Ali, Ziaullah).

Pakistan also won the 2008 Asian Beach Games handball gold medal.

Bangladesh beat Nepal to clinch the bronze medal.

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