Pakistan’s Naseem Akhtar created history on Monday by becoming the fastest woman of the region when she won the 100-metre sprint gold medal at the South Asian Games.

The 22-year-old from Rawalpindi clocked 11.81seconds, 0.12seconds ahead of Sri Lanka’s Pramila Priyadarshani, to bag her first gold medal before a strong crowd at Bangabandhu National Stadium.

Wearing national green tights, she led the field among the eight runners after her easy qualification for the finals.

“I had forgotten the world for six months and trained really very, very hard under my coach Maqsood Ahmed to achieve this,” Naseem Akhtar said.

“It is a great moment for me to have brought glory to the country in my event after the poor showing by our national cricket team and especially since our athletics standards have been poor of late,” she added.

“I hope my performance will inspire the young athletes to become professionals.”

Both 100-metre results turned out to be upsets as Shehan Saearuwan of Sri Lanka toppled India’s Abdul Najeeb Qureshi who had previously won the 200-metre event.

Meanwhile, for Naseem Akhtar to win the 100-metre sprint was a historic moment as no Pakistani woman had achieved this feat in 26-year history of the regional games.

Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) Chief Lt.Gen (Rtd) Syed Arif Hasan congratulated Naseem for her historic performance and announced a one-lakh-rupee (Rs.100,000) cash prize for her remarkable achievement.

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