Monday January 17, 2022

Commonwealth, Asian Games: Government keeps federations guessing

October 13, 2021
Commonwealth, Asian Games: Government keeps federations guessing

KARACHI: There is uncertainty about the government’s intention to hold preparatory camps for the next year’s Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. The government is silent which has kept federations guessing, not knowing how to prepare for the major events where Pakistan can win medals in some disciplines.

Keeping in view the prevailing uncertainty, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) intends to provide every kind of support to the national athletes, particularly the leading players who have the chance to secure medals for the country in the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8, 2022.

“We will do everything for the athletes, especially the leading ones for the Commonwealth Games, whatever we can for them in terms of preparations, transportation and other areas. The accommodation during the Commonwealth Games will be free,” POA Secretary General Khalid Mehmood told ‘The News’ on Tuesday.

“The government is silent and when federations don’t get money how can they prepare for the Commonwealth Games and the subsequent Asian Games,” Khalid questioned.

He said that it is very important to start camps from January 1. “Hardly a month after the Commonwealth Games there will be Asian Games and players have to prepare for both extravaganzas,” Khalid said.

“Some federations are trying to manage camps by themselves. Let’s see how they manage,” he said.

Pakistan will compete in 12 disciplines in the Commonwealth Games: athletics, badminton (subject to qualification), boxing, gymnastics, judo, squash, wrestling, table tennis (subject to qualification), weightlifting (subject to qualification), T20 cricket (only women), hockey (subject to qualification) and swimming.

There are also para-sports, including athletics and table tennis. The National Paralympic Committee will deal with these disciplines.

There is also beach volleyball in the Commonwealth Games and Khalid said if Pakistan qualified then definitely the country would feature in that event.

Pakistan has medal chances in the Commonwealth Games in judo, wrestling and weightlifting. Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem can also win a medal keeping in view his recent fine stint in the Tokyo Olympics.

In the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Japan-based judoka Shah Hussain secured a silver medal. He was the only fighter who competed in judo from Pakistan. Judo was not included in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. However, this time Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) says that their fighters can claim at least two medals in the Commonwealth Games if POA supported the judokas.

Khalid said they always had a soft corner for players. “Both me and the POA chief have always kept a soft corner for athletes. When we know that there are other judokas who can win medals and can click in the Birmingham event then we will not only send them but will try to help them in their training also,” he said.

Khalid is also the president of Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) and boxing also needs top training ahead of the Commonwealth Games. And Khalid has a plan. “We are trying to hold a national championship. If we are able to do so either in Sindh or Balochistan then the top boxers will be put in a camp. We will request Army to back us in training as 80 percent of the Commonwealth Games-bound boxers may belong to the Army. We will do everything to prepare boxers and ensure their presence in the Commonwealth Games,” Khalid said.