Nooh Butt sets eyes on Paris Olympics after CWG

Nooh Dastagir Butt in action during the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. —Twitter

BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan’s top weightlifter Nooh Dastgir Butt says he will make it to the 2024 Paris Olympics following a superb gold in the +109 kilogramme category of the weightlifting event of the Commonwealth Games earlier this week.

In an interview with The News, Nooh said: “Yes, InshaAllah it’s my target now and I will make it possible.”

Nooh snared Pakistan’s first gold in the Commonwealth Games with a solid 405kg effort and set new records in all three categories.

“The journey to Paris has now begun and this event, the coming Islamic Games and around four others will determine the eventual standings for Paris 2024,” Nooh said.

Nooh was a top prospect for Pakistan for the Tokyo Olympics but he was unlucky not to feature in that because of injury. He stayed away from the international circuit for almost two years.

And it was only last year when he staged a solid return and also performed well in the 2021 World Championship in Tashkent where he also qualified for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games by taking silver at the Commonwealth level.

“I am so depressed that I could not feature in the Tokyo Olympics as injury hurt my career at that crucial stage. I still feel very dejected that in Tokyo an Iranian and a Syrian won silver and bronze medals respectively. I have beaten them both,” Nooh said.

Nooh has been awarded an International Olympic Committee (IOC) scholarship and he feels that this will help him in at least ensuring his presence in more qualifying events for the Paris Olympics.

“Yes, I hope so. It will at least enable me to feature in the qualifying events,” he said. About his gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, Nooh said it was something he was looking for.

“I had been looking for a major medal for the last eight years but could not get that due to various issues.

In the last Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in 2018, I went all out but a mis-lift denied me the chance to win gold as I was settled for bronze. I cannot express in words how happy I am with this feat in Birmingham,” said Nooh, also a Commonwealth Junior Championship gold medallist.

Nooh belongs to the weightlifting family of Gujranwala. His father Ghulam Dastgir Butt was a famous weightlifter and he would easily beat top Iranians in his time. His brother Hanzala Dastgir also is a top talent and the other day he finished ninth in the Commonwealth Games here in the 109kg event of which he was the youngest.

Ghulam Dastgir had trained both his sons at home for this event with the equipment not good enough for preparing for international events.

Nooh said that he is fine while training under his father at home, saying he needs the state support for equipment and recovery from injuries as he has no facility of top physio and doctor.

“Here the Commonwealth Games physio kept me in great ease and if such kind of support during training is provided by the state it will help me a lot to keep fitter and train decently for major national duty in future,” he said.

On being asked whether he was confident for gold while coming to Birmingham, Nooh replied in the affirmative.

“Yes, I was more than sure about the gold here.”

He will now move to Turkey to feature in the Islamic Games slated to be held in Konya from August 9-18. When he was asked about his Islamic Games chances, Nooh said that its standard was too high.

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