Provincial governments have enough sports budgets and they can afford establishing wooden velodromes which will help in the development of cycling in the country
The 68th National Track Cycling Championship was held at Lahore’s cemented velodrome a few days ago. It was an important event. As many as 100 pedallists from across the country flexed their muscles. The event was held under a new rule of the world cycling governing body (UCI). Instead of giving weightage to teams, individual riders were given more mileage and were handed over medals and trophies for their personal brilliance.
The event was also important in the sense that the selectors had to shortlist pedallists for the preparatory camp for the Asian Championship which will be hosted by India in New Delhi in February.
The Pakistan Cycling Federation (PCF) plans to field six male and four female riders in India’s event. The PCF also wants to hold a couple of months training camp at Lahore’s velodrome. It also wants to send its final squad to India a week before the event in order to give an opportunity to the national team to do some practice on the wooden track on which the competitions will be conducted.
Although there was no big surprise in the three-day event, new talent was definitely seen in the well-attended showpiece which needs to be properly groomed.
Sports Board Punjab (SBP) Director General Dr Asif Tufail announced during the event that they would try to establish a wooden velodrome in Punjab.
It was a major announcement. The country needs a wooden velodrome which will help the riders to prepare as per international standard.
Pakistan Cycling Federation’s (PCF) chief Syed Azhar Ali Shah also requested Dr Asif Tufail to establish a wooden velodrome in Punjab.
“Whether you establish it in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur or any other region of Punjab we will assemble there to hold a competition. It will be a great step,” Shah said.
Dr Asif Tufail seems to be a fine administrator. He was seen taking keen interest in the event. He stressed that cycling culture needs to be revived in the country.
Cycling is facing big issues in Pakistan. It is the most expensive sport. The minimum price of a cycle is Rs500,000. If you purchase a good imported cycle then you will get it for Rs2.5 million which is beyond the capacity of our cyclists.
We need to establish velodromes in all the federating units. Provincial governments have enough sports budget and they can afford establishing wooden velodromes which will help in the development of cycling in the country.
Balochistan Cycling Association’s Secretary General Jan Alam is doing a good job as he provides cycles to his cyclists at reasonable rates and easy installments.
Provincial cycling associations get minor grants from their respective governments which is a worrying sign for the sport.
Cycling has a huge importance. We should look after the sport. It will create a healthy society.
The PCF spent around Rs3 million on holding the national event in Lahore.
The federation always remains under pressure in terms of seeking sponsors. Dope tests also cost the federation a lot and it needs the corporate sector for assistance.
Although we have not clicked in any major event, our riders have been doing their best at all major stages. If we are to develop their graph we will need to provide them with better infrastructure, quality coaching and extensive international exposure.
We can promote cycling further if the issues between the PCF and Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) are resolved. The POA does not recognise PCF and that is why national riders have missed various major international events.
Resolving such issues is not difficult if both parties have the will. Let’s protect such a captivating sport from damage.
During the event the PCF also held its general council meeting in which various important matters were discussed. The meeting was chaired by the PCF’s president Syed Azhar Ali Shah, who is also the president of the South Asian Cycling Association. The PCF secretary Haroon General was also present.