After the news earlier in the day of Pakistan being kicked out of two semi-finals in which they were the favorites – losing in T20 cricket to Afghanistan and in Kabaddi to Iran – the green shirts redeemed themselves in two other sports are define (or once defined) Pakistan sports: Field Hockey and Squash (team).
In both hockey and team squash Pakistan beat Malaysia to clinch the golds. This takes Pakistan gold haul in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games to 3, adding to the gold already won by the womens’ cricket team. Pakistan also has 2 silver and 1 bronze to its name (including an unexpected Silver in Wushu), a tally that could still go higher since Pakistan will be playing in the bronze medal playoffs in both Kabaddi and T20 cricket.
The hockey gold medal is a great shot in the arms for Pakistan hockey which has been lackluster in performance even though all indications suggest the current team is technically quite competent. The defeat in the Commonwealth Games recently did not help its morale but this victory is bound to put new vigor and motivation. Importantly, this convincing 2-0 victory is not only marks the return of Pakistan to the Hockey Gold stand after 20 years but gives Pakistan an assured berth in the next Olypmics.
The victory in Squash is equally sweet and one hopes is also a sign of a comeback in the sport. Here, once again, Pakistan was pitted against Malaysia, but in Squash Malaysia is a powerhouse, unlike in Hockey, and had gone in as favorites. Aamir Atlas Khan emerged as a Pakistan here avenging his singles final loss to Mohammad Azlan of Malaysia, and preventing Malaysia from sweeping the Asian Games squash golds.