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June 18, 2019

Federations waiting for PSB’s response about SAG training camps


June 18, 2019

KARACHI: National federations are desperately waiting for the Pakistan Sports Board’s (PSB) decision to hold camps for the 13th South Asian Games slated to be held in Nepal’s cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara from December 1-10.

The PSB had said that the federations should send their complete plan and the Board would start camps immediately. Federations sent their plans weeks ago, but nothing has so far been done by the Board.

According to sources in the federations, Pakistan needs to prepare well for the Nepal event keeping in view the lack of international exposure of the national players in various disciplines since the 2018 Asian Games.

“There has been no camp since the Asian Games,” a federation official told this correspondent. “How can one expect medals in the South Asian Games in such a situation! As you know the government has not given any grant to any federation which has affected the federations’ capacity to send athletes to international events. Sports cannot be run like this,” he added.

“At least six months training was needed for the Games. We sent all plans to the Board before Ramadan but so far we have received no response from the PSB,” the official said. In a meeting with some federations before Ramadan, federal minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Dr Fehmida Mirza had assured the federations that they would be financially backed but so far nothing has been done.

PSB DG Arif Ibrahim has been saying that the Board is ready to provide facilities to the federations during camps. But so far no concrete step has been taken. The federations have also sent many reminders to the Board for their training camps.

Some federations fear they might not get any training camp at all for the Games. “The way sports are being handled I don’t think the government will hold camps. Even if it does the camps will be of short duration,” a federation official said.

The IPC ministry has told the federations that they would not get annual grants any more but special grants would be given to them and that too for important international assignments. Federations officials say that in the era of former Director General of PSB Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera there were no such problems. “Irrespective of what type of DG he was it’s a fact that under him we did not face any camp issue,” an official of another federation said. “He was always keen to keep athletes under training. Whenever we called him, if he did not receive our call, he used to call us back and was always ready to resolve our issues,” the official added.

In the 2016 South Asian games hosted by India in Guwahati and Shillong, Pakistan finished overall third with only 12 gold medals. India topped the medals table with 188 gold. Sri Lanka finished second with 25 gold medals.

“We might further decline if training camps were not started immediately,” an official said. The PTI government says it is trying to reform the system but it has taken too much time in doing so that has inflicted a huge damage on the sports bodies’ regular working. Federations have been unable to ensure the presence of their athletes in international events due to dearth of funds as they have not been given a single penny for the last ten months.

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