How sports has brought India and Pakistan together over the years
No one can refute the existence of the major rivalry between the two countries that has brought a series of long lasting friendships with it as well
India and Pakistan need no introduction when it comes to political tension and war. Something that has kept the two countries and the remnants of their relations intact is the passion for sports. Cricket, hockey, tennis and athletics have all been a mainstay between the tow countries and their competitors. On International Peace day, we take a look at some of the relations that have existed between the athletes and the two countries over time.
Neeraj Chopra- Arshad Nadeem
The most recent on field friendship that has bloomed across the borders and at Tokyo. Both the javelin throwers are the epitome of sportsperson spirit and have represented it in their actions, whether it be on social media or otherwise. They stood on the podium together at the Asian Games and created the iconic picture with their heads together. A few years later they competed at the Tokyo Olympics and against stood for each other when their so called fans created an unnecessary controversy.
Rohan Bopanna- Aisam Qureshi
The famous Indo-Pak express was all the rage a few years ago when the tennis duo took the world by storm. Together they even set up the 'Stop War Start Tennis' campaign which garnered a lot of attention for its message and aim. There has never been any bad blood between the two and both have played a huge role in promoting relations between the two countries. To add to it, they reached the US Open finals and even won a Masters tournament together.
Usmad Chand- Mairaj Ahmed Khan and Angad Bajwa
The skeet shooters have exchanged more cricket bats than guns ever since their friendship began flourishing. They represent the rich cricket culture in India despite being professionals in a completely different sport. The story of their friendship went viral this year when Usman Chand got a visa to compete at the ISSF World Cup in India. He has often said that Indian and Pakistani shooters have bonded at tournaments and even cheered for each other. Chand himself visits India frequently for business trips and has expressed his love for his competitors and the country.
Milkha Singh-Abdul Khalid
This was one of the first post-war rivalries between India and Pakistan. The two countries were always glued to the radio when it came to the numerous races between Milkha Singh and Abdul Khalid. Milkha Singh famously beat Khalid at the Asian Games in 1958 and in Lahore two years later. While both the athletes were not explicitly friendly, their rivalry forged a new relation between India and Pakistan. Pakistani General Ayub Khan gave Milkha Singh the name of 'Flying Sikh' while Nehru referred to Khalid as the 'Flying Bird of Asia'.
Waseem Ahmed- Baljeet Singh
The India Pakistan hockey rivalry was still going strong in the late 90's and early 2000's. Baljeet Singh Saini and Waseem Ahmed were the midfield aces from both the countries during this time. The famous story about the two goes back to when Baljeet Saini bought a 80 piece crockery set from Peshawar when India had gone their for a tour in 1998. A few years later, Waseem Ahmed contacted Saini to enquire about Banarasi Sarees for his sisters marriage. He duly sent them to Pakistan after getting it from another Indian teammate.
Virat Kohli- Mohammed Amir
Cricket had to be a mainstay in this article given that there have been rivalries and friendships forged over the years. Both the cricketers have stated their love for competing against each other in the past. Mohammed Amir has spoken about facing 'one of the best batsmen in the world' time and again. Despite retiring at the age of 28, Amir has relished his time playing against India and especially Kohli.