Fallout of politics

January 21, 2024

The current tensions with Iran may affect our sportspeople in a big way

Fallout of politics

The ongoing political tension between Pakistan and Iran will also have a bad impact on sports in Pakistan. Iran has been a very important destination for Pakistan players in various sports disciplines as far as training is concerned.

Iran has produced world’s greats in martial arts, weightlifting and wrestling. And even in kabaddi it has emerged as a strong nation in Asian style and we now plan to groom our youngsters in Iran. In the past, Iran used to learn kabaddi from Pakistan.

Iran is even more important for us in karate. For the last two decades it has helped us groom our karatekas. Iran has also been helpful for us as far as hiring of coaches is concerned and even now we have a taekwondo coach who belongs to Iran.

A handful of our volleyballers are engaged in playing league there and we often send our volleyball team to Iran for training and competition purposes.

Our relations with Iran in football too have been fine and once Iran women football team was part of the Pakistan national women’s event in Islamabad.

At a time when strained relationship with India has hit our sports hard as bilateral series between Pakistan and India is now a distant dream, the current tension with Iran has created a doubt and if the things are not settled it may have a bad impact on our sports as well.

Arshad Nadeem
Arshad Nadeem

China is also our neighboring country and is also a strong sporting nation but it is too expensive for us to send our athletes there for training purposes.

Iran is most important for us because our athletes even can go by road.

“Yes, it is a serious situation and we will pray for quick resolution of the dispute between the two countries which have kept good relations for decades,” a federation official told The News on Sunday (TNS).

“Iran was very important for us and we used to train our athletes there and also used to feature in their various invitational events which Iran used to host and we will never want anything bad. But at the end it is the work of states on both sides of the border to decide and we are sportsmen and we would never like such matters to impact our sporting relationship,” the official said.

Strong relations with neighboring countries are always useful for sports development. On the one hand our strained relations with India are damaging our sports while on the other volatile relations with Afghanistan have also affected our sports.

In case of a good relationship with Afghanistan our athletes could also get access to the Central Asian states by road through Afghanistan for training purposes. But unfortunately, things are not that rosy.

When diplomatic relations are affected between two nations, sporting relationships also are hit hard.

Fallout of politics

Cordial relations with neighbours help in economic, sports and cultural growth. Our support to Afghans for decades has assisted the neighbouring nation to learn cricket and we now see them pulling off major upsets in international cricket. Cordial relations among neighbours help in implementing sports exchange programmes with ease.

But I hope the things with Iran will not take any major twist and our sporting relations with Iran will not be affected.

Now I want to give a major update about the country’s premier javelin thrower, Arshad Nadeem. Arshad, also the world silver medallist, has started his rehab at Lahore and he is doing light training at the Punjab Stadium. He is suffering from a right knee injury.

He told me a few days back that he has applied for a British visa with the aim to go there and get his right knee treated.

He was hopeful that he would recover and would win a medal for the country in the Paris Olympics. Arshad finished fifth in the Tokyo Olympics.

However, since then he has improved a lot and his personal best throw is 90.18 metres which he managed during the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022 which also fetched him a gold medal. He is the only medal hope of the country in the Paris Olympics.


Fallout of politics