Youths display true spirit of

Pakistan at Euro-speedway

By Danial Kublai Khan Monday, 18 May, 2009 DAWN.com

 ‘Pakistan is not about terrorism, we may not be ready to beat the best, but to show our true spirit in the event was enough.’ 

These were the feelings of 22-year-old Mansoor Ahmed, a student of the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), after his team got nominated for the ‘Best Team Spirit’ in the Shell Eco-Marathon at Euro-speedway, Lausitz, a Formula One racetrack in Germany.
 
It was like a carnival; the speedway was filled with over 200 stalls set up for the participating teams. They were actually makeshift workshops for assembling their cars. The three-day mega event would become memorable for the participants, especially for the Pakistani teams that took part in the event for the very first time.
 
 ‘This was one of the best ways of learning about latest technology. Everyone reads books but after experiencing this event we have realised that practical is way better than theory,’ said Khurram from the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Sciences and Technology (GIKI).
The event is designed for the next generation of designers and engineers to come up with such vehicles that are environment-friendly and at the same time consume lesser fuel to cover maximum distance.
 
It also becomes a platform for the younger generation to meet, interact and learn about various cultures of the world as it is open to all countries. Every night after the race ended, there was a party in which all teams had their cultural shows.
 
The NUST team managed to pull off a great performance in all the three days that resulted in it being nominated for the best team spirit. ‘People here were surprised to see that Pakistanis could also sing and dance because initially they thought we would have beards and be like barbarians,’ said Umair owais from Nust.
 
The team from GIKI, on the other hand, got nominated for best communication skills. 
 
Every year, thousands of students participate in the marathon and come from universities, colleges, technical institutes and high schools from around the world.
 
‘Pakistani children are no less designers compared to students of international universities, our young generation has an abundant amount of talent, they just need a proper focus and exposure to such international events, and in a few years time, they can prove to be assets for our country,said Abid Ibrahim, general manager, External Affairs of Shell Pakistan.
 
It was surely an unforgettable experience for the local teams, as they say, ‘nothing comes without a price’. There were many hurdles set on the way to the speed track, the first one being our very own customs department — the shipment of our cars for Germany. At the eleventh hour we were told to provide an amount of Rs0.5 million to the customs duty, only then we could get a clearance,’ said Mohammad Arsalan from NUST.
 
The foreign participating teams had invested thousands of dollars on their cars whereas the local teams had managed to put their vehicles together at a meagre amount of Rs250,000..
 
‘It is surprising to know that a terrorist state could come up with four vehicles, and the cherry on top is that they made their cars in such a little amount of money.’ This comment was not just from one team but many others.
 
It was funny in a sad way to see other teams that had more than a 100 members, including their faculty and technicians, whereas on the flip side, the only encouragement the Pakistani teams had were the prayers of their families and no support from the government. ‘When we went to get sponsors, we were laughed at, and people said we should do better things. They did not believe in us, they thought we could never make it,’ Mohammad Tashfeen, a student of NUST, said. Pakistan may be a developing country, but the amount of talent we have in our young generation is always underestimated, which is resulting in ‘brain drain’. If these children are not given proper focus in due time, it will not only have a negative effect on their individuality, but will also be a huge loss for Pakistan as a rising nation.
 
 
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