PSB has so far not done anything to help athletes properly train for this year’s Asian Games during the coming hot weather
The hot weather is taking the country in its grip and the next few months will be a testing time for the sports governing bodies who will be preparing the national athletes for the 19th Asian Games slated to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8.
I remember our athletes faced great hardships due to intense heat while preparing for the Commonwealth Games held in Birmingham last year.
The players had to train in 40 degree centigrade in Lahore due to lack of air-conditioned halls.
Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad was comparatively better as it is well-equipped but there too sometimes due to negligence the things often are not properly managed.
It is the responsibility of Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to manage top quality training facilities for the athletes. Without air-conditioned halls it will not be possible for the national athletes to prepare well for the quadrennial spectacle for which Pakistan is yet to decide its contingent strength.
It’s too late now as camps will now be held after the National Games slated to be held in Quetta from May 22-30.
Last year in June and July our athletes got sick during training due to dehydration and also developed stomach problems.
As Asian Games are just around the corner it is an opportune time for the PSB to plan properly for hosting national camps at its various centres in the country. The Board should ensure air-conditioners are installed in every hall and hostels well in time.
The big issue is that the PSB takes action when players complain about lack of facilities and when players complain the Board puts pressure on the squad management to explain how this news leaked. I will advise the Board to work properly and no one will complain.
If the Board does not have air-conditioners in stock it should purchase them so that they could be installed at the target halls and hostels well in time.
In order to tackle the hot weather it would be a good step if some camps, especially of the medal-winning sports disciplines, were held in Abbottabad where both civil and military sports infrastructure could be utilised. In summer the weather in Abbottabad is always ideal.
I will tell the PSB that unless long and consistent training is provided to the national athletes, medals should not be expected from them at such a major stage like the Asian Games.
God does justice and how we can beat athletes from other nations who labour tirelessly and consistently for years and without any break.
Yes sometimes a rare upset is seen but always those athletes triumph who pass through a systematic and scientific training which is a must these days.
I will give you an example of India which recently fielded its second string of wrestlers in the Asian Wrestling Championship in Astana as its key grapplers were preparing for the Asian Games which is its key target. An athlete passes through various phases before reaching the peak close to the competition. Nothing can be done overnight. But in Pakistan we don’t even think about it. The Board demands medals from the federations but does not provide the required facilities to them for training their athletes on scientific grounds.
I remember before the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PWF) told the PSB if national wrestlers were given proper training consistently then they would win four medals in the Commonwealth Games and two in the Asian Games.
And in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham national grapplers got five medals in six weight categories. But wrestlers have not been treated well in their preparatory journey so far.
The PSB set up a wrestling camp in Lahore which was stopped at a time when the Asian Championship was just around the corner. However, fortune did not favour national wrestlers as they were deported a few days ago from Almaty to Dubai when they were going to feature in the Asian Championship in Astana.
They were asked to go back to Dubai and catch another flight for Astana which was the entry point. However, no flight to Astana could be caught and so the continental event was missed.
The PSB should try to particularly facilitate those disciplines in which we have potential to shine in the Asian Games. It should provide the kind of strength which federations demand for setting up a camp. The issue is if the Board does not give the required strength to the federations for the camp, training is affected due to lack of proper sparring partners.
The PSB should act as a facilitator not as a dictator. It should treat all affiliated federations well, especially those which are delivering. I wonder why the Board is not backing boxing, handball and wrestling these days. These are key disciplines.
The strength of the contingent for the Asian Games is also likely to be finalised soon as both POA and the Board have pledged to meet and decide this thing before holding of the camps.
It is highly needed that federations and PSB join hands and prepare a solid contingent for the Asian Games.