Cash flood for 11th SA Games gold winner

KARANCHI: Pakistan overwhelmed athlete Naseem Hamid with a hero’s welcome after she became South Asia’s fastest woman by winning the 100-metre race in the regional games in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Naseem, 22, clocked 11.81 seconds to clinch gold medal at the South Asian (SA) Games on Sunday, becoming Pakistan’s first female athlete to win the sprint in the competition’s 26-year history. Naseem was mobbed by hundreds of fans and relatives at Karachi airport, then whisked to a formal reception laid on by the southern province of Sindh.

Sindh governor Ishraul Ibaad announced that Naseem would be receive one million rupees ($11,777) from President Pakistan Asif Zardari and half a million rupees from his office. Other cash prizes came flooding in — Rs 500,000 from Pakistan’s sports ministry, Rs 200,000 from Karachi Mayor Mustafa Kamal and Rs 100,000 from the Pakistan Athletics Federation. Pakistani lawmakers demanded a full-time job and house for Naseem, who comes from Karachi’s impoverished slum area of Korangi.