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July 3, 2018

Pak basketball team to miss Asian Games


July 3, 2018

KARACHI: Pakistan men’s basketball team will not be able to feature in the 18th Asian Games as the federation is not being assisted by the government and it has not yet organised its training camp.

Sources told ‘The News’ that Pakistan Basketball Federation (PBBF) had not yet held its camp because it was not being supported by the PSB due to affiliation issue.

The sources said that the federation wrote several letters to the PSB for camp but the Board did not bother to reply.

It was learnt that the federation had sent the names of 11 probable players to the organisers through Pakistan Olympic Association (POA). But it could not meet the June 10 deadline for sending the final entries by name and so it was not possible for the PBBF to field its team in the Asiad which will be held at the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2.

The sources in the federation said it would be useless to field the national team without training. The players needed at least three months training for the tough competition, they added.

Pakistan were to field four players and one official in the competitions.

A PSB official had told this correspondent a few days ago that the Board would not sponsor basketball team because it was not affiliated with it.

The official had also said that the PBBF had filed its case for affiliation with the Board but could not pursue it.

The PBBF had been invited to the joint meeting of the stakeholders who had met to decide matters for the Asian Games last month in Lahore. It was expected that the Board would back basketball but there has been no fruitful communication between the PSB and the PBBF.

The discipline, which has been suffering since 1990s due to parallel bodies issues, faced similar problems last year.

The PSB had indicated that it would back basketball team for the Islamic Games in Baku in 2017 but just five to six days before the contingent departure, it was stated that the Board was not going to back the side.

The PBBF itself bore the travel, board and lodging expenses then, spending more than Rs2 million. But this time the federation is not in a position to back its squad. If basketball is unable to proceed to Indonesia then Pakistan will feature in 35 disciplines in the Asian Games. Basketball had also suffered in the 2016 India South Asian Games when the men’s side had to return without playing in the biennial event as a court in India stopped the event because of parallel bodies.

Table tennis also faces a similar issue as the PSB says that internationally-recognised Pakistan Table Tennis Federation is not affiliated with it.

The fate of judokas and cyclists is also yet to be decided. Both these federations have strained relations with the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA).

The POA has decided that its Executive Committee would decide the fate of these disciplines.

These federations have been facing the brunt for being part of the parallel POA which had been formed by the government following the May 8, 2012, judgement of the Supreme Court.

‘The News’ tried to contact POA secretary Khalid Mehmood but he did not receive the calls.

National camps for the Asian Games are in full swing at Islamabad and Lahore. The women swimmers’ camp is continuing in Karachi.

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