ISLAMABAD - Miseries of the players and officials continued unabated as squash, wushu, swimming and table tennis squads left for Guwati on Wednesday for 12th South Asian Games.
Squash team left without male and female coaches, Faheem Gul and Sitvat Babar, as 15 players and coaches still waiting for visas while most of the PSB and IPC officials have already left for joy ride. Players had to wait for hours before Pakistan Sports Board handed over kits, blazer, shoes, kit bags and other stuff to them.
Another bizarre situation also arose when Dr Waqar, swimming pool daily wager coach Shabana, who were supposed to travel on Tuesday night at 8:30pm, missed the flight reasons best known to them and were again accommodated and the PSB got new tickets for them to travel on Wednesday. Despite repeated attempts to contact PSB DG Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera to seek his point of view as why these persons missed the flight and who would be paying the extra charges for missing the confirmed flight, he remained absent from his office neither he received the calls made on his number several times.
No one from the PSB was ready to give official version on the issue and advised this scribe to contact DG. However, an inside source disclosed that PSB officials used their contacts to reconfirm the seats for both Dr Waqar and Shabana for Wednesday without paying extra but it looked highly impossible. Latter, Dr Lubna and lab attendant Fayyaz, who was first named as massager of the squad and is now traveling as admin official, joined Dr Waqar and Shabana at airport. Fayyaz is a close aide of Ganjera and despite heavy criticism Ganjera managed to include him against all norms. However, Shabana has been again left behind.
It was quite unfortunate that super stars of country like Aisamul Haq Qureshi, Aqeel Khan, Rashid Malik, Ushna Suhail and others were kept on waiting for several hours by the PSB management before finally providing them with national blazers and other related stuff. Asiam was looking highly upset and threatened to walk away. Talking to The Nation, Aisam termed the PSB attitude as completely unacceptable and described it as total disgrace. “We were not expecting such rash treatment. If tailor was sitting in PSB premises and we have given sizes for the stitching of blazer and other things, then why the players were kept on waiting to get their stuff?’ Questioned an irritated Aisam and added the players deserve much better and respectable treatment.
“I have taken break of two-weeks from international commitments to represent country in SAG just because of sheer love and passion for the country and I would lose international points besides financial loss. If they had not prepared things, then they should have at least informed us. I would take up the issue not only with Pakistan Tennis Federation but also at the highest level. The PSB DG should have come or at least directed some responsible officials to avoid inconvenience to not only tennis players but to other athletes and officials as well. This is not the way to treat national heroes. We are almost guaranteed medal hopes of Pakistan and we had to travel for 15 long hours before we finally reach the destination. And even before departure we had to keep waiting for several hours which is not acceptable for me and other players.”
He also lambasted the meagre dailies given to players. “$20 daily for international event is not more than a joke with national flag barriers. At the one end the PSB and other officials would get hefty dailies and they had nothing to do with winning medals and on the other hand, we the players, who would play out our hearts, would get such meager amount. I appeal to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, IPC Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, DG PSB Akhtar Ganjera to look into this matter of grave concern for the players and give respectable daily allowances to all the players or at least same treatment should be rendered to all individuals.”