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July 11, 2020

POA wants 2022 SAG in Lahore and Faisalabad


July 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has proposed Lahore and Faisalabad as possible venues for the 14th edition of the South Asian Games (SAG) in 2022.

In a press conference via video link on Friday, POA President Lt General (r) Arif Hasan said that since Islamabad has already hosted the Games twice, he would back Lahore and Faisalabad to host the next edition.

“There are many reasons for it,” he said. “The foremost is that you need big crowds for such events and both Lahore and Faisalabad have enough backing for sports. Youngsters in these cities are already attracted towards Olympic sports.

“By hosting the Games in these cities, we will generate interest amongst the youth and it will be a sort of our future investment also.

“Islamabad has already hosted the Games twice so it is time to have them in other cities where we can expect a much bigger crowd and more interest for the event.”

The federal government has set forth more than three and a half billion rupees for the South Asian Games in the 2020-21 budget. The amount will mainly be spent on up-gradation of facilities in Islamabad and Peshawar where the government is planning to hold the mega event.

“First we have to decide which city is best suited to hold the Games in 2022. We have proposed Lahore and Faisalabad as potential hosts. Being the national Olympic committee, it is our right to suggest host cities. So funds must be utilized to upgrade or build sports facilities in those cities,” General Arif said.

The POA president said they have written a letter to the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination and Pakistan Sports Board on the issue. “So far we have not received any response from the government. We have sent a few reminders and will look for other options once we feel we are not being heard,” he said.

General Arif stressed the need for making joint efforts to help Pakistan sports. “We have to respect each other. Only better coordination can help us achieve our goal of seeing our athletes winning medals internationally,” he said.

He urged the government to include all stakeholders in the committee formed to revisit the National Sports Policy. “To avoid any misunderstanding and future implications, the government should take the feedback of all stakeholders and include major components in the committee to review the sports policy.”

The POA president was also concerned about the formation of the PSB Board without the representation of hockey and some other important sports federations.

“The board is meant to take decisions for the betterment of sports in Pakistan. I was surprised not to see our national sport’s name in the list of members. There is no football federation, yet it is included in that list. There should have been some room for Olympic and non-Olympic sports. More importantly, the PSB Board must meet regularly,” he said.

General Arif also revealed that Birmingham, which will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, were considering making changes in the format as well as in the competitions amid the changing scenario.

“We had a meeting recently with the organisers via video link. They have different proposals that were discussed with member countries and one of them was to axe a few events including shooting from the list of disciplines. It is just an ongoing process as we will have more such meetings in future,” the POA chief said.