It was 03 December 2019. I happened to browse Facebook during a short break from work, and was surprised to find my newsfeed flooded with congratulatory messages for SSgt. Hassan Saaid. At first, I did not know what was going on, but soon realized that he had won Gold in the 100m dash in the 13th South Asian Games which was ongoing in Nepal. The fastest man in South Asia was officially a Maldivian, a soldier of MNDF, a marine.
Gold Medal, for Maldives, had been an elusive dream in the 35 year long history of the South Asian Games. The aspiration for Gold was planted in us by the National Football Team by winning the Bronze Medal in 1984. Since then, national teams in various events have tried for the highest level on the podium but always came short. Thus, the dream remained just that, a dream until that historic, fateful Tuesday. History was finally made by lightning fast SSgt. Saaid of Maldives National Defence Force, Usain Bolt of Maldives.
The 35 year long dream had been finally realized for the country by the brave soldier of Maldives National Defence Force. The nation and the Defence Force was celebrating his success. It is rarely that an individual’s photo is displayed on the LED wall of MNDF.
SSgt. Saaid has proven that he is a unique athlete by the various medals he has won for Maldives. His name was first marked in gold when he won the Gold Medal in the Indian Ocean Island Games 2015, the first ever Gold Medal that had ever been won for Maldives in an international competition. SSgt. Saaid further confirmed his position in history by also winning the Silver Medal in the 200m event in Reunion in the same year.
SSgt. Saaid’s previous wins along the climb up the ladder towards Gold, include 10th place in Asia in the 200m event. He was also the first Maldivian to ever win a heat in the Olympics by winning the second heat of the preliminary round of 2016 Olympic, by a good margin. Further, SSgt. Saaid finished fourth in the 100m sprint in the Islamic Solidarity Games, the biggest sports event held among Muslim countries. In addition, he won Gold Medal in the Indian Grand Prix 2016, 100m sprint as well.
SSgt. Saaid who joined MNDF Service on 1 January 2012, is the athlete with most National Records in short distance sprint. He holds the records in 100m, 200m and 400m Sprint.
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