LAHORE - Pakistan cycling squad Friday granted visas by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and it will be leaving for India via Wagha Border today (Saturday).
Talking to the reporters here at a press conference, Pakistan Cycling Federation (PCF) president Munawar Baseer said the 33rd Asian Cycling Championship had already started on March 7 at New Delhi. “It will be first-ever full-fledged participation of Pakistan team in any Asian championship and we will be taking part in all the events including women events of the premier activity.” PCF vice president Tariq Alvi and other officials of the federation were also present on the occasion.
Munawar said out of 12-member team, seven had been granted visas while three riders were not issued visas yet. “Those who have been granted visas include Noor Alam (captain), Niamat Ali, Habib ullah, Sultan Aftab, Waqas Mehmood, Abid Tariq and female rider Anam Mahmmod while visas of cyclists M Sabir, Sajid Mahmood, Ghulam Abbas and coach Sardar Nazakat are pending.”
The PCF chief said it was unfortunate that delay in granting visas had deprived female rider Anam to participate in female events and senior cyclists also lost appearance in two main team events. “The event is not yet over and we will be participating in rest of the events and we hope to fetch encouraging results as our riders are fully prepared for the Asian Championship which will end on March 17,” he added.
He said the PCF’s continuous follow-up with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and urgent reminders sent to Cycling Federation of India (CFI) by games ruling body International Cycling Federation, the visas were finally issued to Pakistan team. A four-member delegation comprising PCF president Munawar Baseer, secretary Syed Azhar Ali Shah, Lady VP Dr Fouzia and VP Tariq Alvi will also attend the meetings of Asian Cycling Federation (ACF) to be held during the side lines of the event.
Munawar highly appreciated CFI president Parminder Singh for being supportive of Pakistan’s position and stated that the CFI had even approached the Indian Home Minister in this matter. He said the participation of Pakistan riders in the Asian Championship would go a long way in improving their performance and to inspire them to put in more efforts for attaining fine results in similar meets in future as well.
He condemned the move of a bogus cycling federation headed by Idrees Haider Khawaja for writing to Indian High commission declaring Pakistan’s team a ‘fake team’. “We will be taking up with matter with Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) besides we will initiate legal action against them for defaming the legal PCF,” he concluded.