Shajar Abbas’ personal best of fourth place in his heat wasn’t enough. On Tuesday, the 22-year-old Pakistan sprinter was cruelly knocked out of the race for the men’s 100m semi-finals at the Commonwealth Games.
Shajar finished in 10.38 seconds in heat eight at the Alexander Stadium, trailing Jamaica’s Conroy Jones (10.28), Scotland’s Adam Thomas (10.30), and Trinidad and Tobago’s Eric Harrison Jr. (10.37).
However, due to a technicality in the qualifying standards, Shajar had to watch Jake Doran of Australia, who finished 0.01 seconds slower than him, go to the semi-finals.
Doran finished in the top two in the second heat, and the 27-man semi-final lineup included the first and second place finishers in each of the ten heats, as well as the seven fastest losers.
Shajar, who placed 27th out of 70 sprinters, was a fraction of a second behind Harrison and Buntin Nadale of St Kitts and Nevis, who both finished in 10.37 seconds and advanced to Wednesday’s semi-finals.
“I didn’t get off to a fantastic start, but I recovered and hoped to make it,” Shajar told reporters. “I gave it my all, but that’s sport for you… I couldn’t finish in the top two, but one sprinter who had a worse time than me advanced since he finished second in his heat.
“I will attempt to build on this and hope to do well in the next event,” Shajar, who will also compete in the 200m at the Games, said.
Yupun Abeykoon of Sri Lanka was the fastest overall, clocking a time of 10.06 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala (10.07).
“I’m thrilled to have made it to the semi-finals, and my next objective is to make it to the final,” said Abeykoon, the first South Asian sprinter to break the 10-second barrier in the 100m.
Aneela Ali, Pakistan’s other sprinter, set another personal best on Tuesday, although she fell short of making the semi-finals in the women’s 100m.
Aneela finished dead last in the fourth heat with a timing of 14.01 seconds, placing her 48th and bottom overall among the sprinters who finished.
Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah established her status as the sprinter to beat after finishing second in the heats behind Nigeria’s Grace Nwokocha in 10.99 seconds.
Thompson-Herah placed third in the 100m behind fellow Jamaican sprint stars Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson at the world championships in Eugene, Oregon, last month.
It was a disappointing showing for the 30-year-old, who topped the podium in both the 100m and 200m at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, maintaining the championships she earned in Rio.
She is certain, though, that she can recapture her best form in Birmingham.
“You have to believe in yourself because no one else will,” Thompson-Herah explained. “I was hoping to perform well this year.” It’s not happening on God’s watch. It is under my supervision. Whatever time I put in, I’ll work my way back to the top. [My goals] are to have fun, smile, take deep breaths, and simply run.”
Two more Pakistani competitors dropped out of the medal race on Tuesday.
In the pool, Haseeb Tariq finished fourth in his 50m freestyle heat in 24.65 seconds but did not proceed to the semi-finals after finishing 43rd out of 71 swimmers.
Mehreen Baloch, Pakistan’s first female boxer to compete in the Games, was eliminated in the round of 16 of the 57kg featherweight division after losing 5-0 to Sri Lanka’s Sajeewani Coorey Muthuthanthri.
BOXER IS NOT INCLUDED
Away from the action, Pakistan contingent officials said on Tuesday that they will seek compensation from the Commonwealth Games Committee after boxer Zohaib Rasheed’s name was left out of the draw for the men’s flyweight category by technical authorities.
“We will not only write to the Commonwealth Games Committee and the International Boxing Association, but we will also file a lawsuit at the Court of Arbitration for Sport,” a Pakistan Boxing Federation official stated.
Pakistan aims to win a boxing medal at the Games via Ilyas Hussain, who advanced to the quarter-finals of the featherweight division on Monday night after defeating Trinidad & Tobago’s Anthony Joseph on a split decision.
On Wednesday, Ilyas will face Northern Ireland’s Jude Gallagher for a spot in the semi-finals.
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