LAHORE                    -                The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has joined government to fight against deadly corona pandemic by forming a force of volunteers, who are willingly ready to work in accordance with the governmental guidelines to help distribute necessary items to the vulnerable sports persons and others, whom the government identifies.

“Our country is passing through tough times and almost every person, organisation, in fact the entire country is making all efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. In this national effort, the Olympic family will also fulfill its social obligations and responsibilities,” said POA President Lt Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan here on Wednesday.

He said through their huge resource base of sportspersons, they can provide an effective platform for networking, educating and developing a network of sportspersons, who can participate in a national movement to promote the safety and wellbeing of athletes of all ages and abilities especially those, who need to overcome certain economic issues. “With sports activities at a standstill, we should use this situation by focusing on assisting our colleagues who need to be assisted, athletes whose statistics are still remembered by the whole country but their relevance long forgotten,” he said.

“We need to garner all our resources, use our influences and social media platforms to advise and guide our fellow sports persons about the directions of the local authorities and governmental institutions. We must help our colleagues who need our help. We must educate our fellow sportspersons and augment the efforts of the government and the administration in every way we can,” he added.

The POA head said that both the federal and provincial governments have announced certain relief measures including a relief package to provide relief to vulnerable people and they need volunteers and the POA will assist the government in this regard. “We reiterate our complete support and endorsement of the organisational channeling of relief goods through the systematic approach to reach the most vulnerable people who are directly affected by the COVID-19’s forced closure of daily activities and life,” he asserted.

“In line with order to the announcement made by Prime Minister Imran Khan, we will be preparing a list of vulnerable athletes and officials (if any) along with their contact details and addresses and highlight the ‘affected’ areas and surroundings where food and medical supplies are required, to prepare a list of the donors, charitable organisations and other similar private,” said Gen Arif.

He said the periodic and frequent communication channels may please be established with the personnel associated with your organisation to educate your family, relatives, friends and community about the preventive measures to fight COVID-19. “With these lists, we all will be able to provide a readily available data of the vulnerable sportspersons, if any, to relevant governmental authorities and charitable organizations, and would extend support as much as possible from this platform,” he added.

He emphasized the need to adopt highest medical and safety guidelines by the volunteers and similar guide line be followed by all personnel associated their respective organizations. “We have fixed April 6 as the date to provide data to the POA,” Gen Arif concluded.