Road to the Games is a series of articles profiling Ismaili athletes from countries around the world, and the journeys they have undertaken to reach the Golden Jubilee Games. The series is being published in the run-up to the Games, which will take place between 23 – 29 June in Nairobi, Kenya.
As part of its national qualifying process for the Golden Jubilee Games, the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board for Pakistan held its josh trials for athletes from all regions of the country at the Aga Khan University Sports and Rehabilitation Centre in Karachi. Josh, which means will, was the theme of the Pakistan Jamat's national sports festival.
The trials in Karachi drew more than 2 200 athletes from across the country, including nearly 300 women. A female participant from Lahore undertook an 18-hour train journey to Karachi, stating emphatically that “the privilege to be part of the excitement of these Games made the travel worthwhile."
In the course of the the two-day festival, trials were held in 11 areas of competition including badminton, chess, cricket, football and swimming. A team of 21 professional panellists from the Sindh Sports Board evaluated participants in order to select those who will represent the Pakistan Jamat at the Golden Jubilee Games in Kenya. Former professional test cricketer Mr Sadiq Mohammed oversaw the cricket matches, which were the most competitive of the trials.
Professor Dr Yasmeen Iqbal, the first Pakistani woman to receive a Ph.D. in Sports Sciences, observed the trials.
“What impresses me most,” she noted, “is to see how motivated these young people are. I am eager to know what their source of deeper inspiration is – it cannot just be their trainer or coach.”