ISLAMABAD  -   The 2018 remained one of the best years for Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTWF), as the hard work and sincere efforts of PTF President Lt Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Janjua single-handedly ensured players’ maximum participation in national and international events while referees, umpires, judges courses were also conducted.

The biggest achievement of the federation in 2018 was hosting the Korean International Championship, in which 22 Korean athletes showcased their skills at Liaqat Gymnasium, Islamabad, while a great number of national athletes took part in the high-profile event.

Keeping in mind a meager grant from Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), which is not even enough to run the office and meet day-to-day affairs, the PTWF produced wonders and ensured Pakistani athletes manage to win nine gold, as many silvers and 17 bronze medals in international events, which is second to none in Pakistan. The achievements of Pakistani taekwondo players are crystal clear and credit goes to Patron Lt Gen (R) Javed Iqbal, HI (M) and President Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Janjua, as he is the man, who is running the federation from his personal pocket and with the help of friends and ensuring maximum Pakistani athletes participate in international events and win laurels for the country at every given stage.

In 2018, the PTWF participated in 19 international assignments in terms of championships, referees’ seminars and international master-coaching courses. More than 140 officials, coaches and athletes from all over the country participated in different international competitions, which is a record for any federation of Pakistan, while more than 20 qualified international referees, which is also a great milestone of any federation in Pakistan, arrived in Pakistan to conduct various events.

Under the patronage of Lt Gen Javed Iqbal, HI (M) (R), the management was clear direction to fully focus and concentrate on the grassroots level for the promotion and development of the game in the country. Due to his vision and forthrightness, the plan given by him worked well and a great number of young athletes attracted towards this beautiful game and represented the country in many national/international events.

The separate Para National Championship was also organised in 2018 in Lahore, which was fully backed by Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim through the efforts of the patron. The PTWF also organised all categories of male/female national championships, which also involved different clubs from across the country as well.

The international body termed the

For its all-out efforts for the promotion and betterment of taekwondo in the country, the international body termed Pakistan Taekwondo Federation as the most event-conducting federations in a year. A 22-member kukkiwon delegation was also seen in Pakistan during the national event, who took back their home peaceful and sports-loving image of the country. It will also open the door for international taekwondo in Pakistan, which is the biggest and foremost requirement of Pakistani athletes. The federation also developed good relations with multinational companies like FFBL and Hankook, which is a very positive and healthy sign, as they will help the federation in organising the national/international competitions in 2019/2020.

The great services rendered by female athlete Najia Rasool, who is the lone taekwondo player of the country and had won loads of international medals, were duly recognised by the government of Pakistan as she was conferred upon ‘Pride of Performance’ by President Mamnoon Hussain in 2018. Najia had not only participated in international events but also did coaching courses and conducted a number of national championships being an organiser and player. Her glittering career is full of courage and devotion and despite belonging to a remote area in Multan, Najia is a role model for other female athletes.

Overall, 2018 was very successful year for Pakistan taekwondo and athletes, who are aiming high and brimming with confidence for 2019. The management has again fully focused towards international competitions and will participate in Fujairah Open, Al Fajr Open, Turkish Open, US Open, World Championship and other international competitions while the PTWF will also conduct courses and referee clinics for the athletes and coaches.

POA FAILS AGAIN TO GIVE RELIEF TO GENUINE ATHLETES, FEDERATIONS

Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) once again failed to provide any relief to genuine federations and athletes and remained busy in obliging near and dear ones. Same old people, who are close to POA President Lt Gen (R) Syed Arif Hassan, enjoyed countless benefits in shape of international tours and joy-rides. Gen Arif used all his tactics to the best of his abilities to force IPC Ministry and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to take heavy contingents to Commonwealth, Asian Games and other major events. New IPC Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza although had detailed briefing of POA President and Secretary, yet she failed to tackle Arif Hassan, who always uses the tool that Pakistan will be banned by IOC in case the government interferes.

The POA never bothered to provide nay relief to genuine organisers, athletes and always focused on getting personal benefits. For the last 15 years, Gen Arif is a head of POA and his entire tenure is filled with controversies. He is well-known of obliging his near and dear ones to get votes. It is strange that despite a complete failure, Gen Arif is still dictating terms and he is not ready to step aside and let the genuine people take over the POA.

The time is high when the government must take bold decisions without being getting blackmailed from Gen Arif about IOC’s threat of suspension and vacate the POA from those people, who had destroyed Pakistan sports in general and athletes in particular. Rather than including genuine athletes and coaches in Pakistan contingent, who could win laurels for the country, Gen Arif always got his blue-eyed persons adjusted in every foreign trip, which cost Pakistan badly as the medal tally continued to shrink, but he never bothered this rather always blackmailed the governments in the name of IOC’s sanctions.

The government must understand that the IOC has nothing to do with internal affairs. It is government’s duty and responsibility to provide justice to long-suffering federations, athletes, coaches and ensure right man for the right job. The last 15 years of Gen Arif are more than enough to prove that he doesn’t have any direction nor have plans and he is more interested in safeguarding personal interests than winning medals for the country.

PSB’S NON-ISSUANCE OF GRANTS TO

FEDERATIONS LED TO SPORTS DOWNFALL

Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) completely failed to address the genuine issues of the affiliated federations in 2018 as not a single training camp was established mainly due to the government’s strange and anti-sports polices and non-appointment of a permanent Director General was the basic reason behind the sufferings of Pakistani athletes, coaches and federations in 2018.

The poor performances of Pakistani contingents and individuals are mainly because of PSB, which failed to provide majority of federations even meager annual grants, as the tenure of executive committee members expired and no one bothered to address the root-causes and establish fresh executive committee, due to which the PSB budget is yet to be approved. For the last several months, the PSB failed to issue grants to affiliated federations.

Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera was retired in February 2018 but the government didn’t appoint permanent DG after him and kept on appointing acting DGs. Amer Ali Ahmed first took charge and his two-month tenure remained golden period as he stopped free memberships of swimming pool, initiated inquiries against a number of irregularities and sorry-state-of-affairs of Liaqat Gymnasium. He also ensured that the employees must attend office in time, availed proper leaves and also stopped salaries of ghost employees. A number of drastic steps were taken during his tenure while merit and rule of law was highlight of Amer’s tenure.

After Amer, Arif Ibrahim took over the reins of the PSB as acting DG and he too continued to carry forward all the good work done by Amer, while former DG Ganjera had to vacate official five-kanal residence during Arif’s tenure. The discipline was maintained and a number of corrupt employees had to face the music. When he was all set to address the root-cause of problems being faced by the organisation and was all set to install electricity meters, gas meters and no free water facilities, which the employees were enjoying since long, he was immediately replaced by incompetent Khaqan Babar.

Khaqan Babar, in his two months, put PSB to knees. During his tenure, the employees kept on suffering while salaries were delayed and the pensioners had yet to receive pensions for last four months. They are protesting daily and begging IPC Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza to have mercy on them and release their pensions while medical stores are refusing to release medicines to the PSB employees due to non-payments, but DG is unmoved and hardly bothers to sit in the office and when he attends the office, he is unwilling to address even routine affairs.

IPC Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza must address the employees’ concerns and form a committee to resolve pensions issue, as former employees have served for years and gave their entire lives to organization. Now they and their families are suffering. The pension was started in the PSB in 2008 and it can’t be stopped without any reason. The permanent DG appointment is the only viable solution to all the problems being faced by the PSB employees.

MOHSIN ALI