کراچی: آئی پی ایل دسویں ایڈیشن کے سنسنی خیز میچز ’’جیوسوپر ‘‘پر براہ راست نشر کیے جا رہے ہیں            کراچی : لا لیگا کے سنسنی خیز میچز پاکستان کے پہلے اسپورٹس چینل’’جیوسوپر‘‘پر براہ راست نشر کئے جا رہے ہیں            
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Reorder the priorities, please
Tuesday, July 05, 2016
by Alam Zeb Safi
Iceland’s recent stunning victory over England in the Euro 2016 shows that population does not matter much and it is the investment and the approach of the authorities towards sports development which propel a country to global sporting glory.

Pakistan is a major country as far as population is concerned but in sports it is one of the worst in the world because of absence of a plan for sports development.

In the past it has achieved glories in a few sports like squash and hockey but now it has touched the lowest ebb in these disciplines too because of lack of a solid plan.

Our cricket team has pulled off some major achievements, but those have been few and far between. These days the country is struggling in cricket too.

After Pakistan failed to qualify in hockey for this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro the sports authorities are under immense pressure. They don’t know what to do with the seven ordinary athletes of four disciplines who have been got the honour of featuring in Rio Games on the basis of quotas and wild cards.

No player could directly qualify for Rio which is shameful for the sports administrators within the federations, Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and Pakistan Olympic Association (POA).

This will be the first time in history that Pakistan will be sending more officials than athletes to Olympics. It will be better to cut down the number of officials as there will be no need of any coaching staff for the Pakistani players who will be fighting only with themselves.

Even the Japan-based judoka Shah Hussain, who finally made it to the Olympics on the basis of the continental quota, has no chance of even winning his opening bout in the minus 100 kilogramme judo competitions in Brazil.

Dubai-based swimmer Lianna Swan and London-based swimmer Haris Bandey and shooters Ghulam Mustafa Bashir and Minhal Sohail are also set to participate in Rio. The two athletes who will go to Rio are yet to be finalised. The problem is that the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) had sent initially the names of Maria Maratab and Mohammad Ikram to the international athletics governing body (IAAF). As per POA the accreditation cards for these athletes have also been issued. But later the AFP opted to reconsider its decision and sent the entries of Najma Parveen and Mehboob Ali for their glorious showing in the National Championship in Quetta in May.

Mehboob equalled decades-old record in 400m of national history. Najma had clinched six gold medals in various events. According to POA if the AFP wants to send those it has opted in replacement then it will have to get Brazil visas for them as the accreditation deadline expired on April 29.

If the entries of the latter athletes were not finalised it would be embarrassing for the AFP.

The current state of the country’s sports should be an eye-opener for those who have been occupying the major sports seats for years without any noteworthy contributions.

In the past the hockey team’s qualification would lessen pressure off the authorities as they would easily form a 50-member contingent for Olympics. But it will be a shame when just seven mediocre players will compete under the wings of more than a dozen officials.

I don’t want to ridicule anyone but as a patriotic Pakistani I feel pain. I want the sports administrators and the government to wake up from their deep slumber and start working vigorously for sports development.

How can sports in Pakistan be developed? The POA vice-president and former IGP Chaudhry Mohammad Yaqoob had a conversation with ‘The News on Sunday’. Some of the excerpts are given below.

“It’s really hard time for Pakistan’s sports. The standard of our hockey team also has gone down miserably and it now occupies the tenth spot in the world rankings,” Yaqoob told TNS.

“It is time for the government to give sports due priority. Talent in individual sports should be spotted and groomed properly. It should be identified who can compete at the regional level, who can at the Asian level and who can represent the country at the world level. And after that investment on them should be made as per their requirement,” said Yaqoob, who is the chairman of Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF).

“Foreign coaches must be employed. Without them no promotion is possible. The government should strike bilateral deals with countries like China, Iran, Argentina, Brazil, England and Kazakhstan with which players’ exchanges could be made. The government has already signed MoUs with a few countries but it should expand its canvas to earn further benefits,” the official said.

“For team sports the number of players has drastically fallen except cricket where number of players is not an issue. In team sports the base will have to be expanded. Focus will have to be made on club competitions which will provide us talent,” Yaqoob said.

“We must revive sports at schools. In the government schools most of the sports teachers don’t focus on their job, but rather do some side-business,” he pointed out.

“The sports budget should be at least Rs10 billion. As sports have been devolved it is now the responsibility of the provinces to focus on sports development. Infrastructure should be enhanced. We cannot hold any big international event because of lack of infrastructure. International events attract people, which in turn attract media and so sponsors,” Yaqoob said.

“The POA can manage funds for the federations through the Olympic Solidarity and can also play a role in coaches’ education. But without the state help we can’t develop our sports,” Yaqoob said.

Yaqoob agreed that there should be a national sports institute to work on the lines of the sports institute in Patiala in India or Canberra in Australia where the best players of various sports disciplines are trained and educated.

It’s time the government imposed “sports emergency” to find and develop world-class talent available in disciplines like wrestling, weightlifting, handball, volleyball, athletics and martial arts.
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