JEDDAH, 20 April 2005 — Pakistan ended their search for a medal in style as the gritty pair of Essam ul-Haq Qureshi and Aqeel Khan pulled off a golden double in tennis yesterday in the First Islamic Solidarity Games.
The closing ceremony to end the 13-day games that brought the youths from 54 Islamic countries together takes place at the King Abdul Aziz Sports City in Makkah today after the football final between Saudi Arabia and Morocco at 5:50 p.m.
Essam won the best-of-five singles final in straight sets over Kuwait’s Mohammad Al-Ghareeb 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 at the King Fahd Sports City tennis court in Taif.
Earlier in the day, Essam helped Pakistan clinch the team gold in the event when he beat Algeria’s Salman Mugran 6-4, 6-4, as teammate Aqeel Khan downed another Algerian Abdul Haq 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Algeria settled for the silver in the tennis team event while Saudi Arabia and Indonesia received bronze medals.
Aqeel also claimed the bronze for Pakistan in the singles as did Algerian Salman.
The twin gold by Pakistan came two days after the South Asian country with a large concentration of expatriate workers in the Kingdom at close to 1 million won the One-Day International cricket series with India in New Delhi.
Pakistan assured themselves of at least the silver medal in tennis doubles after qualifying for the final where they will play the winner today of the semifinal match between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
Iran won a marathon final in volleyball against Egypt 3-2 to earn a gold that went with their bronze in basketball after beating Tunisia 75-66.
The Central Asian country of Azerbaijan underlined their supremacy in basketball with a routine-like 82-69 triumph in the final against Algeria at the sports hall in Prince Mohammed ibn Abdul Aziz Sports City in Madinah.
What Algeria missed in tennis their handball team delivered by winning the gold medal game against the hosts.
The victory did not come easily though as the pesky Saudis repeatedly came back before the Algerians pulled through by 25-23. Egypt beat Syria 31-28 in the battle for bronze.
Algeria made it two-for-two against the hosts as they also won the bronze medal game in volleyball 3-0.
— Additional input by Ebtihal Mubarak & Razan Baker