A gold conquest by PAKISTAN’S INAM BUTT at Commonwealth Games

Pakistani wrestler Muhammad Inam Butt won his country its very first gold medal in the 86kg freestyle wrestling competition, at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. It made for a win that elevated Pakistan’s position from 31st to 22nd in the rankings, all of it within a matter of few hours of Inam’s win, as before the fighters had only four bronze medals in their tally.

The 29-year-old Butt from Gujranwala called it a triumph over Nigeria’s Melvin Bibo in 6-0 closing fight, sealing the top finish at the podium. Inam’s opponent Bibo, who ranks second in the world, was unable to secure a single point in the competition, whilst the winner won by scoring three classification points.

Before staging the final fight with Bibo, Inam championed over a series of three previous wins, with the first match being with Australia’s Jayden Lawrence. Inam then beat the Canadian Alexander Moore and India’s Somveer in the semi-finals and quarter-finals, respectively.

Talking to the media the exhilarated champion shared, “It was such a big event and I felt that I needed to salvage some pride for Pakistan,” the gold medalist said and added, “It was embarrassing that we didn’t win a single gold medal. I felt that I need to do something, something good, and I wanted that gold. I really wanted Pakistan to win in the games.”

Inam shared that every fight leading to a bigger win was very challenging, especially the final closing fight with Bibo. He was happy to mark a win against India’s Somveer, with whom the champion had once lost a fight.

“Every fight was do-or-die and each opponent was great, but Bibo has a reputation. Also, I had lost to Somveer before so I was going in with full force and determination to beat him. In fact the Canadian wrestler is among the top in the juniors so every victory was precious,” relayed Inam. He then further went on to explain that the odds were neatly stacked against him since the very start, since wrestling is an expensive sport and mostly wrestlers are required to pool in ample resources at their own expense. He added that it’s high time the country begins to invest in wrestling at large.

“Odds were that we are fighting against countries who invest a lot in their athletes,” Inam told a publication. “India’s budget is far more than ours, only for wrestlers, it is never easy for us,” he said.

Inam’s gold triumph has elevated Pakistan’s medal tally at the Games to 42 – 21 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals.

A gold medal in the Games is not the only achievement Inam has to his name. He attained the word title in 2017’s World Beach Championships in Turkey. He also grabbed the only silver for his country in the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in South Africa last year as well. After his big win on Saturday, the jubilated Inam has already staged his goals ahead. His next targets would be the Asian Games and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.