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June 30, 2016

Pakistan to send more officials than players to Rio


June 30, 2016

KARACHI: The number of Pakistan’s officials will exceed the number of athletes as the authorities say around 18-member Pakistan contingent will go for the Rio Olympics.

Foreign-based swimmers Lianna Swan and Haris Bandey, shooters Ghulam Mustafa and Minhal Sohail, Japan-based juodka Shah Hussain and two athletes will represent Pakistan in the competitions.

It has been learnt that the Baseball Federation of Pakistan (BFP) chief Shoukat Javed will accompany the contingent as chef de mission.

Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) medical and rehabilitation wing chief Dr Waqar will also be part of the touring party. The federal minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Pirzada will attend the Games as state head delegate. The PSB Director General Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera is also likely to go to Brazil to witness the event if the government issued him NOC.

Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Lt Gen (retd) Arif Hasan and secretary Khalid Mehmood will also witness the event.

It is not yet known who will feature in Rio athletics competitions from Pakistan. Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) had initially sent the names of Mohammad Ikram and Maria Maratab to the IAAF, the international athletics governing body. They had been issued accreditation cards, but the AFP later sought replacement for the duo and sent the IAAF names of 400 metre record holder Mehboob Ali and Najma

Parveen for their superb performances in the National Athletics Championship in Quetta in May.

Najma got six gold medals in the event while Mehboob equalled the previous record in 400m, which is the best from any athlete in Pakistan since 1947.

Although the IAAF has accepted the AFP request for replacement, getting accreditation cards for the new entrants is problematic because the last date in this respect was April 29.

The POA says that for these two athletes the AFP will have to get Brazil visas for which June 24 was the last date.

For featuring in any Olympic event an athlete needs accreditation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and then there is no need of visa. This correspondent learnt that the POA had been fighting hard and the issue might be resolved soon.

The POA says it will try to ensure Pakistan contingent’s arrival in Rio on August 2.

It is not clear whether the foreign-based three athletes will join Pakistan’s contingent in Islamabad or they will join it in Dubai.

This is the first time that such a small contingent will represent Pakistan in Olympics. Pakistan hockey team failed to qualify for the event — for the first time in history.