KARACHI: Pakistan’s former athlete Muhammad Talib has commended Federal Minister for Inter – Provincial Coordination Dr Fahmida Mirza for taking notice of Pakistan’s poor performance at recent Asian Games in which Pakistan stood 34th among 37 nations. They won only four bronze medals.
Talking to ‘The News’ at his Athletic Fitness School, he said that this was the poorest ever performance by Pakistan at the continental games. “We are ahead of only three countries. Two of them, Afghanistan and Syria, have been raved by war. The third is Myanmar. Pakistan used to be champions in various disciplines, both at Asian and world level,” he said.
He said that Pakistan’s sports were paralysed because of the incompetence of government sports departments and of federations and associations who had failed to do their jobs seriously.
Talib is a seasoned athletics coach and physical trainer. He has provided free coaching for last three decades and produced dozens of national and international level athletes. “Small countries are miles and miles ahead of us,” he said.
Fahmida said in her statement that the government would consult with all the stakeholders to formulate a new sports policy. During the launch of tree planting campaign at Pakistan Sports Complex, the minister said that the government wanted to revive sports in Pakistan.
She said that media should play its part to uplift sports in Pakistan by airing at least one-hour sports programmes on regular basis. Talib said that Pakistan’s sports needed complete overhaul and those responsible for the debacle must be held accountable.
He said that there was need for collaboration between the departments of education and sports at provincial level. “Sports were destroyed when they were detached from education,” he added.
“Where are inter-school, inter-college, inter-board and inter-university competitions which were the lifeline of our sports system. “If these events are not held how can we produce fresh talent?” he asked.
He said there was no issue of shortage of funds. “The real issue is lack of sports competitions at the grassroots level and lack of commitment of sports officials,” he added. He suggested that athletics should be declared compulsory at school level so that physically strong youth could be produced.
He said the high officials of ministry of IPC and PSB had visited Karachi several times to inspect the boxing gymnasium and other projects at PSB’s centre. “About 95 percent work has been done but no activity is possible unless the remaining five percent work is done. The governments of PPP and PML-N failed to complete these projects,” he added.
These projects were started around a decade ago, but were delayed after the 18th Amendment under which sports were devolved to provinces.The boxing gym also has space for competitions of badminton, table tennis, bodybuilding and weightlifting. The gymnasium has a capacity for 2000 spectators.
Talib appealed to Fahmida to issue directives for their earliest completion. He advised the minister not to trust the government officials’ summaries. He said she should herself visit the centre and take opinion of sports stalwarts who are devotedly working for the promotion of sports. He said the tartan track at PSB centre is 20 years old and needs to be replaced immediately.