OUR country was once popularly known for producing the world’s best athletes and players especially in cricket, hockey and squash but unfortunately today the deterioration has reached the level where only a squad of mere ten players was sent to participate in Tokyo Olympics.
The global event got underway on the 23rd of July with several athletes worldwide making their mark quickly.
However, Pakistan stands far behind rather at the bottom merely because of the number of players sent.
The demise of hockey, Pakistan’s national sport, has been painful to watch for an older generation who prospered during the halcyon days between 1960 and 1994, when Pakistan regularly used to win Olympic gold medals and world championships. It is the second consecutive time that our hockey team could not qualify for the Olympics.
What else will be the last nail in the coffin of the hockey? Our representation in the Olympics instead of swelling is on a constant decline. It is a disaster primarily because there has never been concrete planning for Olympics by Pakistan Sports Board and Pakistan Olympic Association.
In fact there is no dearth of talent in our country but the regrettable part is that no attention is being paid to the training of athletes. Talha Talib, a weight lifter, who competed well in the ongoing Olympics but was defeated by a close margin by a Chinese.
He was trained by his father. With such kind of approach we should not expect anything big from our athletes as the foreign rivals come in the field after proper training based on scientific lines.
Until and unless the relevant boards do not support and back their players, we cannot uplift our games and compete at the international level.
One had great expectations with Prime Minister Imran Khan that being a sportsman he will pay special attention towards promotion of sports which, in fact, greatly contribute to image building of the country. Three years have passed but nothing worthwhile has been seen to this end.
We will appeal the PM to personally look into the matters of different boards, restructure them and bring in professional people in them in order to revive the sports.
We will have to strengthen the grassroots system and encourage our children at the school and college level to participate in different sports.
This is the only way we can exploit the talent and prepare the youth for competition at the international level.