Pakistani Christians praying for their Olympic team

After the start of the Olympics yesterday, Pakistanis, like other nationalities are also very excited to watch their players show their best performance in the Games and send a message of peace to the world.

For the last several years, sports events have been facing challenges in Pakistan, and the nation enjoys it most when their cricket, hockey, tennis and other teams have won titles in other countries. The memory of winning titles brings back smiles and provides a chance to people of all walks of life to celebrate.

ANS Pakistan has learned that a 39-member sports contingent is already in London to take part in different events.

According to the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), "Out of the 39-member contingent, there are 18 hockey players, two athletes, two swimmers and a shooter. There are 23 players, and 16 officials taking part in the 2012 Olympics."

ANS Pakistan spoke to many Christian sports players and various other people to find out what they are saying about Olympics 2012, and what they expect from their players.

Johnson Gill is a Christian cricket coach and Gospel minister. He said: "I love to be on the streets of London to witness the various game events, especially hockey [in order] to support the Pakistani team, however, it was not possible. But I am with my team, and wish them best of luck as Pakistan badly needs to win gold medals to bring back the Games to Pakistan."

Ahsan Sadaqat, an ANS photographer, and a cricket wicketkeeper, commented: "Pakistan has a great potential in sports. Its youth works very hard in sports. However, some anti-Pakistan forces fabricate stories and create a bad name for Pakistan and, once allegations are levelled, it has become common and the international community believes it. That discourages players and youth in Pakistan. I wish and pray that Pakistani players bring a good name for Pakistan."

Rafia Salomi, a women's rights, activist told ANS: "There are one or two women from Pakistan taking part in different sports events. They are a ray of hope for Pakistani women who work hard, and this gives them an opportunity to represent their motherland. I am praying for Pakistani players to win the best title."

Smile Ajal, another Christian sportsman, said he used to go to church every Sunday. "The Priest at Immaculate Conception Church appealed to the congregation to dedicate their prayers for Pakistani players taking part in Olympics 2012."

Smile went to say: "God answers prayer, and Pakistani players shall win!"