Sports policy

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ALMOST all the sports are on constant decline in the country. In the past, our country produced world beaters in many sports be it hockey, squash, snooker, wrestling or boxing but today our ranking in them is touching the bottom.

It is because of this that a very small contingent of Pakistan could make it to the recently-held Olympics in Tokyo.

It was the second time that our hockey team could not qualify for the Olympics. It is because of lack of concrete planning in relevant bodies including Pakistan Sports Board and Pakistan Olympic Association that our sports have touched the bottom.

Finally it appears that the poor performance of our players in the Olympics has rung the alarm bells in the quarters concerned.

Federal Cabinet its meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan decided to frame a new sports policy with responsibility entrusted to Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Fehmida Mirza to finalize the document.

When things are not going in the right direction, it becomes imperative to review them and do the course correction.

However, framing the new sports policy alone will not be sufficient until and unless it is also implemented in letter and spirit.

We will suggest the Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination to sit with the legends of all the sports in order to come up with a comprehensive policy that must primarily focus on improving the sports infrastructure in the country.

Unless we invest in our players, in infrastructure and in the federations by putting in financial assistance, we cannot and should not expect miracles to happen.

To put things simply, the system under which Pakistan’s sports runs is in a mess. The practice of musical chairs in the sporting federations needs to be brought to an end.

12 sporting federations out of the 41 or so which exist in the country are following a policy in which the same office-holders hold the term beyond the two-term limit set with each term lasting four years.

This is usually achieved by shuffling from one post to the other, for example with the President taking over as Secretary General, the Secretary General as President and so on.

The new sports policy should come up with a mechanism ensuring the elections in the sporting federations are held in a fair and transparent manner and that only honest and dedicated professionals occupy the top seats. They then be given targets to revive the old glory of the country in sports.

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