2018 Commonwealth Games: Indo-Pak camaraderie still alive
India-Pakistan sporting rivalry is big, and it will be renewed when the men’s hockey sides clash at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Saturday.Updated: Apr 06, 2018 23:27 IST
India-Pakistan sporting rivalry is huge, and it will be renewed when the men’s hockey teams face off at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Saturday.
However, off the field, there is bonhomie. At the Commonwealth Games, it is evident at the technology help desk of the Main Press Centre where engineers from both countries work together. Take colleagues Omar Sardar from Lahore, and Shailendra Patel, who moved to Australia from Gujarat 10 years ago, for example. They work for Optus, a cellular technology company, and have come from different cities of Australia to work at the Commonwealth Games.
There is one more Pakistani and Indian engineer at the MPC working different shifts. “I love cricket more, but the hockey rivalry is also very big,” said Omar, hoping Pakistan does well at Gold Coast.
Dika Toua is a pioneer
Papua New Guinea lifter Loa Dika Toua, who won silver behind India’s Sanjita Chanu in women’s 53kg, is a pioneer. She was the first to lift weights when women’s lifting was introduced in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The 33-year-old mother of two had participated in women’s 48kg as a nervous 16-year-old at Sydney, and came sixth at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Dika Toua has inspired a generation of weightlifters in PNG and two of her sisters have followed her into the weightlifting arena.
“Every time I come home with a medal, it inspires young kids, especially girls. If I can do it, they can do it,” she said, after failing to overtake Sanjita Chanu in women’s 53kg.
On Friday, Dika Toua was cheered on by her family and children from the stands. Her next target is 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Panchia brothers on New Zealand duty
Arun Panchia has represented New Zealand in hockey. He has been part of the Black Sticks men’s team since 2009, bagging 250 caps, and is leading New Zealand at Gold Coast. His achievements include a bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
At Gold Coast, Panchia, who traces his roots to Gujarat from where his great grandfather immigrated to New Zealand, has company in his brother Jared, who will be making his CWG debut. Their family members have flown in from New Zealand to support them. “It’s pretty humbling to play for New Zealand and be part of the team, playing with my brother and seeing our friends and family here in the stands,” said Arun.
New Zealand began their campaign by beating Canada 6-2 on Friday. Jared said: “It’s a really great way to start the competition. We were a bit nervous but stuck to our plan in the second half and made some penalty corners.”
Like father, like son
Malaysian weightlifter Muhhammad Erry Hidayat is following in the footsteps of his father, Hamidon Hidayat, into weightlifting. Hidayat senior won clean and jerk gold in 69kg at the 1998 Commonwealth Games at home in Kuala Lumpur.
Muhammad Erry too is in 69kg, and is Malaysia’s big hope for the future.
“My dad is my hero, my idol and my motivator. He is the reason I am standing here today doing what I love doing,” said Muhammad Erry after finishing fifth. “My target was to win a medal, and I am disappointed I did not achieve that. I gave it my all and will keep working hard to achieve greater heights.”
First Published: Apr 06, 2018 23:26 IST