KARACHI: Pakistan Olympic Association’s (POA) president Lt Gen (retd) Syed Arif Hasan does not see the country wining many medals at the 18th Asian Games, slated to be held in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2.
“The athletes are working hard, but if we look at our input I would say that if any player fetches a medal it will be a very big bonus and we people should appreciate them,” Arif told reporters here after inaugurating the first National Softball Academy (NSA) at the Karachi Parsi Institute (KPI) on Thursday.
Arif said that competition level at Asian Games was very high. “It’s a very tough event. The martial arts standard in the Asian Games is as strong as in Olympics. In wrestling and weightlifting, too, there is hard competition as Olympic and world champions feature in these Games,” said Arif, also the vice-president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
He was quick to add that the athletes, particularly those of team events, would learn by featuring in these Games.He also said that the country’s premier wrestler Mohammad Inam would not be featuring in the quadrennial event due to injury.
It is pertinent to mention here that Inam skipped the event after developing a knee injury during training a few days ago. This is the same injury which he developed in the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April this year.
His doctor has advised him four-week rest. Arif claimed that 245 members of Pakistan’s contingent for the Asian Games would be state-sponsored. “Up to 60 players in other disciplines such as football and bridge will bear their own expenses,” he said.
He said that the board and lodging fee for the approved contingent would be transferred by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) into the organisers’ accounts on Friday (today).
“The board and lodging charges will be remitted into the oragnisers’ accounts tomorrow. This is too late. The POA cannot transfer this, so the PSB has to do this,” Arif explained.Responding to a question about Pakistan hockey players’ recent protest, he said he could not answer the question. “How can I answer this question! It’s good that the matter has been resolved and the hockey team is going to Asian Games,” said Arif, who will attend the OCA Executive Committee meeting in Jakarta on August 15.
“Such things break the focus of the players. The players should always be focussed on their game. The coach is very good and is working hard with the boys,” said Arif, who has been leading the POA for the last 14 years.
He said if the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government consulted POA about sports development the NOC would play its role. “If we are consulted we will give our input. We need to correct our coaching and other systems,” Arif said.
About the new arbitration system which the POA is preparing, Arif said it would be a fair process.“Arbitration is a universal process. It is done at all levels. We have put 20 to 25 names in the arbitration panel. The dispute resolution is binding,” Arif said.
He was quick to add, however, that it could be challenged in courts. “But the court will ask the party which approaches it whether it has gone through the arbitration system. This thing will be very important,” he explained.The POA chief also said that a committee has been formed to check incidents of harassment in sports.