Holistic approach to sports

PRIME Minister Nawaz Sharif hosted a ceremony on Tuesday in honour of national cricket team, which recently won the ICC champions trophy in England. On the occasion, cash prizes worth millions of rupees were also given away to the players. Such gestures and recognition of performance at the highest level further encourage the players to boost their performance. But we understand much more needs to be done on the ground not only to promote and support cricket but other games as well in which the country was once considered a force to reckon with but now present a gloomy picture due to sheer negligence on part of all governments.
In these columns, we have repeatedly been emphasising upon the need of strengthening domestic cricket infrastructure to ensure that a pool of quality players always remain available to national team. This will also bring much needed consistency in the performance of team. But at the same time, when the government is focusing on country’s image building, it is high time that necessary patronage is also given to other sports such as hockey, football and squash. If we compare the marvels achieved by Pakistan in different sporting events, then squash and hockey indeed have earned the most as compared to the cricket. But it is lamentable that with passage of time the two games were ignored so badly that recently Pakistan hockey had to play qualifying round to secure a place in the World Cup. The plight of Squash is not much different- the game in which Pakistan was once considered as insurmountable especially the era of Jahangir and Jansher. As the Prime Minister has expressed commitment for promotion of sports, we hope the needful will be done at the gross roots level in order to uplift all the games. There is need to introduce and support different sports at the school level. Then specialised training centres should be established across the country that prepares youth as per international standards. Attractive incentives should be offered to lure the youth to participate in all discipline of games. Such an approach will help the country make its presence felt at mega events like Summer Olympics and Commonwealth games.

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