Prime Minister Imran Khan has a meeting with Sports Minister Dr. Fehmida Mirza convened to take stock of the country’s Olympic debacle, in which 10 athletes ended a medalless campaign.
Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem and weightlifter Talha Talib, on the other hand, put on an impressive show with top 5 placements in their respective disciplines.
“The Prime Minister will now pay attention to the sports structure of the country in the remaining two years of government, as he wants the youth to excel in other sports as well as in cricket and to present a soft picture of the country,” said Federal Minister Asad. Umar told ARY News.
Government insiders say the prime minister took renewed interest in the situation in the sport after neighbors India showed their best performance with seven medals, including a gold medal from javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra.
Asad said it is true that the Prime Minister and Cabinet have not been able to pay as much attention to sport during the three years in government due to the multiple problems the country has faced.
“But now even the prime minister wants things to improve and there is a plan to build a modern sports institute in the country,” he said.
Mirza, who appeared on another channel, blamed the NOC (National Olympic Committee) for the sad situation in sport in Pakistan.
But when asked why the Pakistan Sports Board, the state institution that regulates the country’s sport, returned nearly 440 million rupees to the government in the fiscal year without using it for sports and athletes, she had no convincing answer.
She claimed that the Ministry of Sports wanted all national federations and the Olympic Committee to agree to a unified sports policy and to be accountable for their actions.
“We have asked all national federations not to present an appropriate action plan for their sports until they receive grants and funds for the training of their athletes and their posting abroad or the implementation of events.”
The minister said the government is giving the PSB 1,000 million rupees annually, 40 percent of which is spent on salaries and non-development costs, while the rest is spent on athletes and infrastructure.
Arshad and Talha are both home trained athletes in their makeshift facilities to prepare for the Olympics without being provided with proper coaches.