Commonwealth Games: A wake-up call

THE 21st Commonwealth Games concluded on Sunday with host Australia leading the medal tally with 198 medals followed by England with 136 and India remained third with 66 medals. And if one were to hastily sum up Pakistan’s performance at the games, the term below par would be used as the country only managed to grab five medals including one gold clinched by Inam Muhammad in Wrestling who received a rousing welcome on his return home on Wednesday. Our lopsided craze with the game of cricket has seriously marred the prospects of other important sports and as a result we continue to perform very poorly at international events like Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games etc.
Pakistan national game “hockey” that once stood tall at various international events also gave a disappointing performance by standing at seventh position. Over the years, the game of hockey has been facing downslide and time has come to take some positive and bold steps to revive the game. Some of our people particularly those sitting at Pakistan Sports Board and Pakistan Olympic Association might be happy that country at least clinched a gold medal but given the dismal performance by our 87-member contingent, the sports authorities must get serious for promotion of sports while shunning lethargic attitude and internal rifts as players alone cannot be blamed for the poor show. Even with the right tools at their disposal, there is still a massive gap between Pakistan and countries like England, Australia or even India, when it comes to basic sports infrastructure. It would take years of hard work, dedication and judicious allocation of resources to come close to their level. At the same time when officials at the helm of affairs are not interested about country’s reputation at major events, then there is not much the players can do either. As federal and provincial governments are engaged in efforts to promote soft image of the country abroad, it is also time for them to invest massively in sports and pay special attention in building sports structure on modern lines by inducting capable and right kind of people who could prepare a solid plan for revival of all the sports so that our players perform to the best of their capabilities and abilities at international events and earn laurels for the country. Those who bagged medals at the 21st Commonwealth Games need to be further encouraged so that they could continue their winning streak in the days ahead. This will also bolster the confidence of other young players to perform well in their respective fields.

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