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Glasgow curry chefs to appear for Pakistan at bowls

Two curry chefs who have lived in Scotland almost all of their lives have received late call-ups to represent Pakistan at the Commonwealth Games this summer.

'Chico' Mohammed and Ali Shan Muzahir, who run a successful Tandoori takeaway and restaurant in Mount Florida, Glasgow, have been asked to represent the country in the Lawn Bowls events at Glasgow 2014.

The fact that they were both born in Pakistan makes them eligible to wear the green-and-white uniforms of the Asian country at the Commonwealth Games.

While their team-mates will have to travel 4000 miles to compete in Glasgow, the bowlers are just a two-minute stroll from Hampden Park.

And they will participate in an event which could have one billion viewers world-wide.

Said Ali, 55, from Clarkston in East Renfrewshire: "I was over the moon when I found out. It's everyone's dream to be asked to represent your country. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

The pair are joint owners of the Alishan Restaurant in Glasgow's Mount Florida, sitting in the shadow of the national stadium where the Games closing ceremony will take place on August 3.

Ironically, it's a favourite curry house of Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister. Once, he rounded off a Scottish Government cabinet meeting by taking all his ministers to the Alishan for a slap-up dinner.

As Lawn Bowls is not a popular sport in Pakistan, the country's Lawn Bowls Federation were struggling to find a team that could compete in the sport in Glasgow. At last year's World Cup in Australia, a Scottish coach recommended Chico and Ali, who have been playing bowls in Glasgow for more than 20 years.

Both have their coaching badges and Ali has won championships and has successfully competed at district level.

Joked Chico, also 55, from Netherlee on Glasgow's south side:"We are that close to Hampden we can take part in the closing ceremony and still be back at our work that night.

"I think they only picked us because they know we can't claim any travelling expenses."

The news has delighted fellow members at the two Glasgow clubs where they are members, the Glasgow Indoor Bowling Club in Mount Florida and the Clarkston Bowling and Tennis Club in East Renfrewshire.

Clarkston chairman Mark Weir,43, beamed: "The entire membership is delighted for them.

"They have promised us a Pakistan team jersey, which we will frame and hang in the bar for all time."

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