Here is a truly beautiful sportsmanship story. When sport transcends the problems which people, and even whole nations, sometimes have. Yesterday India and Pakistan came together and played together in the Men’s Doubles Final in the US Open. They played to win, and even more importantly, in their own words, they played for peace.
India’s Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi say that “If we can be friends, so can our countries”. They say it is “the beauty of sport”. They are vibrant “we are trying to give a message of peace to people of India and Pakistan.”
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947. "It is the beauty of sport that it’s above culture, politics and religion," says Qureshi. "It feels very good to see the Indian fans taking autographs from me and Pakistani fans taking Rohan’s autographs. Rohan always points out that even if we change the minds of 3% or 4% of people, it’s worth it. And if we two can be friends together, then why can’t other Indians and Pakistanis be friends?"
India’s and Pakistan’s ambassadors to the United Nations have been sitting together and cheering them on. The players now want to stage an exhibition match at the Wagah border crossing between India and Pakistan. They have invited their presidents and prime ministers and are awaiting a response. In Wimbledon, earlier this summer, they started wearing t-shirts with the message "Stop War, Start Tennis".
They eventually lost narrowly to the hot favourite America brothers, Mike and Bob Bryan who spoke warmly about the ‘IndoPak Express’: “What these guys are doing bringing India and Pakistan together is very special. It shows that sport can bring people together." Both of the Americans have donated generously to an appeal fund set up for the Pakistan floods. "It’s just a match and it’s just a game. A lot of people in Pakistan don’t have homes and are out on the street. What these guys are doing bringing India and Pakistan together is very special. It shows that sport can bring people together."