Govt to form 500-strong pool of elite athletes: DG PSB

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The government has a plan for Pakistan’s sporting revival. Moving towards a regional system instead of a departmental one — where public departments set up teams in various sporting disciplines and offer jobs to their players — that plan will see de-partments being given the responsibility of raising the profile of a single sport.

That, it contends, will help in tending to the needs of an elite panel of 500 athletes.

“We have picked around 350 athletes from dif-ferent sports and the target is to raise it to 500,” Pakistan Sports Board director general retired Col Asif Zaman said.

“The measures are being taken to promote sports on a solid basis instead of just providing em-ployment to athletes,” he added, saying negotiations were underway with both private- and public-sector institutions to pick any one sport and invest heavily on that.

“For example, the government may ask National Bank of Pakistan to take care of hockey instead of investing in several other sports,” continued Asif.

Asif informed that suggestions and recommen-dations were being sought from the government departments regarding the role of their sports de-partments. He, however, made it clear that athletes won’t be financially-hit by the reform process.

“Instead, the players will be given a roadmap to work hard in order to maintain their position to get maximum incentives,” he said. “The problem with the current system is that sportspersons lose their ambition after getting permanent jobs.”

He said hockey and squash had been placed on the priority list as Pakistan seeks to return to its former glories in both sports.

The PSB has recently provided funding to the Pakistan Hockey Federation to appoint Dutch coach Siegfried Aikman and Asif said that it was also looking at getting the best trainer in squash.

“Provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab are also giving funds to the PHF,” he informed.

He also said that national sports federations had to expand their roles in order to search for talent by holding annual events.—Agencies

 

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