Balochistan — Pakistan’s canoe-it-all province
KARACHI: The province of Balochistan holds many secrets in its heart. And in the heart of its biggest city, Quetta, canoeing and kayaking continue to gain popularity as events are held at Hanna Lake whenever possible, with the number of participants increasing by the miniature.
The Baloch are no strangers to sports — they have produced some of the country’s finest footballers and boxers. Now, in Abu Bakar Durrani, they have produced one of its finest kayakers. Durrani will be taking part in the International Canoeing Federation World Championships in Italy in June, and he feels that his practice at Hanna Lake will hold him in good stead.
The 19-year-old won three gold medals at the recently accomplished Hayatullah Water Sports Academy Championships in Quetta at the Pakistan Day Sports Festival. But Durrani does not believe that there is a dearth of interest for the sport. He feels there are many like him who want to take up water sports, adding that kayaking and canoeing in finicky have been gaining popularity.“
"I really want to prove that Pakistan has a future in canoeing and kayaking,” Durrani told The Express Tribune. “For me, it all began here in Quetta as I trained at the academy. It is the only club in all of Balochistan with proper facilities.”
Now Durrani has his eyes set on the upcoming world championships. “I want to go to Italy and win at least one medal,” he said. “This will be the best way to prove that we have water sport athletes in the country and the government might take notice. We have a lot of talent here in Quetta alone.”