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Sports

August 8, 2018

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Asian Games: POA contacts PTI leadership for funds

KARACHI: The top officials of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) have contacted the leadership of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to get funds for sending the 245-member contingent for Asian Games, which begin in Indonesia on August 18.

Pakistan contingent is to depart for Indonesia on August 16. An official of Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) said that the Board was not in a position to provide funds for more than 140 members.

But the POA wants the government to provide funds for 245 members. The caretaker federal government has withheld the funds meant for Pakistan contingent, citing budgetary constraints.

Informed sources said that some PTI leaders were interested in the affairs of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), but they were least bothered about participation of Pakistan in Asian Games.

The top PTI leaders are busy completing the numbers required to form government in the centre and Punjab because of which they have not been able to give attention to many areas, including sports.

PTI chief Imran Khan is likely to take oath of the office of Prime Minister on August 11 or August 14. The sources in POA said the PTI leaders should remember that handling the Asian Games contingent issue was far more important than changes in PCB.

They said the contingent is to leave only a few days after the new government is formed, so the PTI leadership must take a decision in this regard immediately. The uncertainty about how many players and official will go to Indonesia is hurting the preparation for the Games as they are finding it difficult to focus their minds on their skills, the sources added.

If the government fails to provide funds for the 245-member contingent as demanded by the POA, athletes in quite a few disciplines will have to be excluded, they said. And doing that will be a huge problem, because the federations’ chiefs have no mechanism to deal with such a situation.

“How will we explain to the athletes why they are not being sent for Asian Games,” said a federation official. “The guys have been preparing for a long time. How will we pacify them!” he added.

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