ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s top 400 and 800 meter national athletics champion Naukar Hussain has vowed to excel in upcoming Asian Indoor Athletics Championship 2016 commencing at Doha, Qatar from February 19.

Talking to The Nation, bronze medalist of the recent 12th South Asian Games Naukar said that he had trained very hard for the South Asian Games and was very optimistic of clinching gold, but due to tiredness and busy schedule, his team’s dream shattered.

He was somewhat contended with his SAG performance but shared his grievances and remarked: “I must say, it is a good achievement that we managed to win at least bronze medal. Shakeel was hot favorite for winning gold medal in hammer throw, but he was completely misguided. He returned from practice session and was told in haste that the competition would be in the afternoon session. He was very tired after tough practice session; same chaotic case was encountered by majority of our athletes.”

He added: “The SAG is past now. We must leave our disappointment behind and fully focus on Asian Indoor Championship where I along with Ikram, Mehboob Ali, Asad and Rabia Ashiq will compete in 400m relay, 400m flat and 800m. I can’t commit we will win gold, silver or bronze, as conditions will be completely alien to us as we lack indoor stadium exposure.”

He requested the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to construct a much-needed indoor stadium. “We had time and again requested the PSB to at least construct an indoor stadium in Islamabad if not possible in all major cities. One must not expect extraordinary results, if not provided with adequate facilities. Despite odds against us, we won silver and bronze medal last year in the Fajr International in Iran.”

To a query regarding incentives for athletes returning after the SAG, Naukar said: “We await cash incentives, as winning a medal at international event is never easy. We are not demanding anything, but it is our right that our services should be recognized, the same way as cricketers are showered with countless benefits. The incentives are indeed important to maximize our potential and keep us fully motivated to win laurels for our country.” “It is quite satisfactory that Army Sports Directorate Director General Brg Ghulam Jillani is accompanying us in the Asian Indoor Championship in Doha, as it will not only boost our confidence but also give us extra energy to perform and impress our boss, who is like a fatherly figure for all. I hope we will not disappoint him and the nation and return victorious,” Naukar concluded.