By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), as a part of its policy to facilitate the youngsters, has decided to lay astro-turf at here the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET).
“Indeed it’s a tragedy that Pakistan’s hockey team is not playing in the ongoing Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Without blaming those responsible for the catastrophe we have decided to get on with it. We have the capacity to regain the lost glories in hockey. India had also not qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games but their team is playing now. There seems no reason why, with so much talents, we could not bounce back at the international level,” the PHF official remarked.
“It’s time to join hands and rise to the occasion. The country is fortunate to be blessed with enormous talent in sports. It’s the responsibility of all those institutions and departments to work in cohesion to build a kind of infrastructure which is sports friendly,” he reckoned.
“As part of our contribution to this cause, we are pleased to revive scholarships for our students who excel in sports and are able to earn colours at provincial or national level. We are also in the process of reinforcing our sports department and we would soon be engaging professional coaches to train our students in various games,” the SSUET Chancellor declared.
Dr Junaid Ali Shah, President, Asghar Ali Shah Sports Foundationa and a former Sindh Minister, believed that the turnaround in sports was very much a possibility if efforts were made collectively in this direction.
“Let’s try to make things happen. The situation is not conducive but we can still achieve our goals with strong leadership. We have to trust our hopes not fears. Optimism holds the key here. We need to work overtime with missionary zeal in order to accomplish our cherished goals,” he stressed.
Amjad Aziz Malik, Secretary, International Sports Press Association (AIPS), Asia, proposed that the resourceful departments like Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) be handed over the management of one major sport each.
Azeem Hafeez, a former Test fast bowler, pointed out that the lack of playing facilities was one of the major reasons in the declining standards of various sports in Pakistan.
“In our playing days there were schools who housed playgrounds. We also had the access to the various cricket grounds which were open to the boys of all over the city. Unfortunately now the grounds have boundary walls and they charge hefty fees to let the cricketers play. Similarly schools cricket is also in doldrums,” he regretted.
“It’s very painful to note that those sportsmen who’re able to make it a big, with the exception of just a few, have no inclination to give it back to the game which earned them name and fame. Similarly the sports organizers appear more eager for joyrides than finding ways and means to promote sports,” he lamented.
Mansoor Ali Baig, Editor Sports, Duniya, in his comprehensive speech, covered the ups and downs of the Pakistan sports over the years, recalling the golden era of 1990s when the country had four world titles at a time.
The seminar was attended by a large number of the SSUET faculty and students besides the members of the SJAS and officials of the various sports bodies.