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LAHORE: Four Wapda athletes – Arshad Nadeem, Talha Talib, Mahoor Shahzad and Najma Parween – are among those representing Pakistan at the Tokyo Olympics 2021 scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

Arshad Nadeem belonging to Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) unit of Wapda Sports Board (WSB) will contest the javelin throw, while Talha Talib from Gujranwala Electric Power Company (GEPCO) would feature in the weight lifting competition.

Mahoor Shahzad of National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) would represent Pakistan in the badminton competition, and Najma Parween of Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (FESCO) will try her luck in the 200-meter race, a Wapda spokesman said.

Wapda Chairman Lt-Gen Muzammil Hussain (Retd), wishing the best of luck to the Pakistani contingent, expressed hope that the players, that of Wapda in particular, will perform to the best of their abilities in the respective categories of the event.

WSB office bearers have also expressed that Wapda players will show good performance in Tokyo Olympics 2021.

Pakistan, in the previous Rio Olympics 2016, had sent a 24-member contingent featuring seven athletes and 17 officials. However, this time, Pakistan has sent a 20-member squad including 10 athletes and an equal number of officials.

The Pakistan hockey team, once a major contender at the Olympic Games, failed to qualify for the mega event for the second consecutive time with its last participation in the 2012 Olympics in London where it had finished 7th.

Tokyo 2020 chief doesn’t rule out cancelling games

Meanwhile, the chief of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee on Tuesday did not rule out cancelling the Olympics if COVID-19 cases spiked, as more athletes tested positive for the virus and sponsors ditched plans to attend Friday’s opening ceremony.

Asked at a news conference if the global sporting showpiece might still be cancelled, Toshiro Muto said he would keep an eye on infection numbers and liaise with other organisers if necessary.

“We will continue discussions if there is a spike in cases,” said Muto.

“We have agreed that based on the coronavirus situation, we will convene five-party talks again. At this point, the coronavirus cases may rise or fall, so we will think about what we should do when the situation arises.”

A spokesman for Tokyo 2020 later said organisers were “concentrating 100% on delivering successful Games”. Rising Covid-19 cases in Tokyo have cast a large shadow over an event that, having already been postponed last year because of the pandemic, will now take place without spectators. Japan this month decided that participants would compete in empty venues to minimise health risks.

With additional input from Reuters

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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