Unin­spir­ing Ath­letes

Enterprise - - Letters - M. Fayyaz Razi, Sukkur.

Pak­istan’s lack­lus­tre per­for­mance at the re­cently con­cluded Com­mon­wealth Games has yet again raised the ques­tion of why a coun­try of over 200 mil­lion peo­ple is un­able to pro­duce a re­spectable num­ber of award-win­ning sportsper­sons.

The 56 ath­letes who rep­re­sented Pak­istan in the 12-day ex­trav­a­ganza at Gold Coast, Aus­tralia, could only win one gold and four bronze medals.

Mo­ham­mad Inam Butt’s gold medal on the penul­ti­mate day was in line with the im­pres­sive show that Pak­istani wrestlers have been putting on at the Games since 1954, but it still could not hide the unin­spir­ing per­for­mance of the other ath­letes.

In the 13 edi­tions in which Pak­istan has com­peted, the wrestlers have scooped up as many as 42 of the to­tal 75 medals that the coun­try has won so far. But the cup­board has been pretty bare oth­er­wise. The de­bil­i­tat­ing stan­dards of hockey, which used to be a guar­an­teed medal sport at one time, have cost Pak­istan dearly dur­ing the past two decades.

It was no dif­fer­ent this time and the four drawn games played by the team, in­clud­ing one against the lowly ranked Wales side, led to its ouster from the semi- fi­nal race. Poor in­fra­struc­ture and gov­er­nance have not helped. Lack of fa­cil­i­ties at the grass roots is an­other chal­lenge, es­pe­cially for ath­letes be­long­ing to the ru­ral ar­eas.

Be­sides, there is hardly any trans­parency in the se­lec­tion of play­ers, while the in­ep­ti­tude of sports ad­min­is­tra­tors run­ning many sports bod­ies as per­sonal fief­doms have caused con­sid­er­able dam­age. If our ath­letes are still do­ing well it is de­spite the sys­tem, not be­cause of it.

There is an alarm­ing need to put away the ills harm­ing sports, to bring in sin­cere, com­pe­tent peo­ple to run sports af­fairs and to take strin­gent steps to en­sure that hefty grants do not go to waste and are prop­erly utilised to up­grade the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture and im­part mod­ern train­ing. In short, a com­plete over­haul is the or­der of the day.

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