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June 16, 2019

33rd National Games: POA, organisers to make efforts to resolve issues with non-affiliated associations


June 16, 2019

KARACHI: Both Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and organising committee of the 33rd National Games have pledged that no athlete will suffer and opportunity to showcase their talent will be given to all athletes in the biennial spectacle which will be hosted by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from October 26 to November 1.

“Neither the POA nor we, the organisers, want any athlete to suffer,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Olympic Association’s President Syed Aqil Shah told ’The News’ after a series of meetings regarding the National Games in Lahore on Friday and Saturday.

Aqil said that the actual issue was of the three federations -- judo, cycling and athletics -- whose provincial bodies were not affiliated with the relevant provincial Olympic associations.

“As president of the organizing committee I will also try to reach to these federations in order to find out ways so that the players of these disciplines do not suffer,” Shah said.

Meanwhile, the POA Secretary General Khalid Mehmood told this correspondent that top-notch efforts will be made for reconciliation with these federations.

“From next week, efforts will be made to solve this issue. The mediation and constitution committees will work and reconcile the things till July 31 so that the athletes do not suffer,” Khalid said.

“If no positive result comes, then the competitions in these disciplines will be held under the banner of POA,” Khalid said.

When asked about football matter, Khalid said that they will seek input from FIFA and according to its advice, football’s fate will be decided for the National Games.

A fact-finding mission of FIFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had visited Lahore last month and had interviewed all parties concerned. As per procedure, the fact-finding mission will submit its report to the FIFA Member Associations Committee and then the said committee will forward its recommendations to the FIFA Council which will meet in the last week of October.

On Friday, the meeting of the POA Sports Commission was held at the Olympic House in Lahore which was chaired by Aqil Shah, who is also the president of the organizing committee of National Games.

However, as discussion over certain matters had not been completed so the meeting was resumed at 11am on Saturday. This was followed by the meeting with the presidents and secretaries of federations and top officials of various units of the POA.

“Every matter of National Games was discussed in length,” Aqil Shah said.

He said that on July 17 a meeting of the KP Olympic Association and Sports Directorate of KP will be held in Peshawar which will dispose off several matters.

“Almost 98 per cent of venues have been finalised,” said Aqil, also a former KP sports minister.

Shah said that the 33rd National Games will be the biggest in history, adding that women, for the first time, will be featuring in 21 disciplines.

Competitions will be held in 31 disciplines, which also include the pending disciplines whose fate is yet to be decided. Keeping under consideration the International Olympic Committee (IOC) charter, women are being given due representation in the country’s biggest extravaganza.

Afghanistan is also being invited to feature in the Games which were shifted in April from Quetta to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Each province will field 400-member contingents with the departments to field up to 500-member contingents. Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) will field 100 to 150 member-contingents in the week-long spectacle.

Athletes from four provinces, four departments, Islamabad, GB and AJK will be vying for the titles.

The Games are to be held at a time when Pakistan would also be preparing for the 13th South Asian Games to be hosted by Nepal in Kathmandu and Pokhara from December 1-10.

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