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Tuesday February 27, 2024

Sharp cut in Islamic Games contingent in favour of officials

July 15, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has imposed a sharp cut on the Konya (Turkey) Islamic Solidarity Games contingent strength while including an unprecedented number of 10 officials from the Ministry of Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) in a curtailed 76-member touring party.

A well-placed source has confirmed to 'The News' that Islamic Games contingent has been reduced from 122-member to 76 as mostly athletes and related support staff have been taken out in favour of PSB and IPC Ministry officials. On top of that the PSB Director General has also been appointed as the Deputy Chef de Mission for the second consecutive mega games. DG PSB has already been appointed as the Deputy Chef de Mission for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Birmingham Games end on August 8. Islamic Games will get underway in Turkey from August 10.

The PSB has approved the total strength of 76 for the Islamic Games, including 45 male and 8 female athletes, as many as 21 male officials and two female officials.

For Islamic Solidarity Games, Secretary IPC Ahmad Hanif will be the Chef de Mission while the DG PSB has appointed himself as Deputy chef de Mission.

Archery, table tennis, fencing teams have been totally withdrawn from the Games while a sharp cut has made in weightlifting, wrestling, taekwondo, swimming and karate teams.

“Surprisingly one one hand, a sharp cut has been introduced on athletes participation, and on the other PSB and IPC officials are all set to have another all expenses paid trip. Why have athletes been singled out? We deserve participation in the Games ahead of officials and that is our right,” one of the athletes from the dropped sports, when contacted, said.

He appealed to the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) to help these sports' inclusion in the Islamic Games. “The POA should help us out and include our sports in the Games. We can win medals in Islamic Games as the field will not be as strong as we find in any other mega event.”

Only on Thursday, the POA communicated that the PSB would only sponsor a 76-member contingent to the Islamic Games.

Considering the urgency of the matter, the POA has convened the Executive Committee meeting on Saturday to discuss the pros and cons of the decision.

“Yes, we have convened the meeting of a 30-member Committee on Saturday to discuss the issue that is of utmost importance. We will look into the reasons as to why the PSB has imposed a sharp cut and why so many officials have been made part of the contingent,” a POA official when contacted said. No government official was available for comment.