Ghulam Mustafa Bashir became the first Pakistani to win a medal at the World Shooting Championships and confirmed a quota place at the 2024 Paris Olympics in the 25m rapid fire pistol event.
The 35-year-old won a bronze medal at the International Shooting Sports Federation World Championships in Cairo, Egypt. He fought hard in the medal match of the event and had the total of 19, but lost out to South Korea’s Gunhyeok Lee (total of 31) and France’s Clement Bessaguet (total of 30), who went on to take the gold medal and silver, respectively.
“This is such a huge moment for Pakistan, but this country is ridden with the cricket fever,” National Rifle Association of Pakistan secretary Razi Ahmed told The Express Tribune.
“This is incredible that Bashir has gotten the quota place and he has also become the first Pakistani to ever win a medal at the world championships.
“It is sad that everyone only cares about cricket in the country. A sport that only 12 to 14 countries play but here we have shooting where around 200 countries compete for the accolades and our shooters have done so brilliantly. They had won us places in the Olympics.”
Bashir has been a phenomenal shooter for Pakistan and with the bronze medal in the world championship, he has given Pakistan a quota place for the Olympics, as the event offered top four countries direct qualification.
This will be the third time that Bashir will be competing in the Olympics. Earlier he won the quota place for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2016Rio Olympics.
In the championship at Cairo, the 25m rapid fire men's event had 76 competitors.
Bashir remained among the top lot from the beginning. He was in the ninth place in the qualification stage 1 and 2. Then he was fifth in the qualification relay group 7, with a total of 584-19x, giving him the direct spot among the top eight shooters who reached the ranking matches.
Bashir competed in the ranking match two against Gunhyeok China’s Zhiming Lu and Germany’s Florian Peter.
He finished the ranking match in second place and qualified for the medal match along with Gunhyeok.
Second shooter to qualify for Paris
Earlier, Gulfam Joseph became the first Pakistani athlete to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics as he qualified for the 10m Air Pistol event in Cairo.
“Our shooters have been consistent. They have been particularly good at the events we have been sending them to, but we still do not see much support for them.
“Joseph gets the fund from the International Olympic Committee scholarships, while Bashir has not gotten any special support from the government either. We are making sure our shooters compete because even in the 2020 Olympics, out of four Pakistanis who earned direct qualification, three were the shooters,” said Ahmed.
He added that the association gets Rs1 million, while sending the athletes even for one event costs more than Rs2 million.
“We are really looking for support and encouragement for our athletes. We need people to start looking at shooting as a more mainstream sport,” said Ahmed.
“We are trying to give the scholarships now to women and the youngsters too. We would like to see shooting to be taken to school level so that we can groom more shooters like Bashir and Joseph.”