ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tenpin Bowling Federation (PTBF) secretary Ijaz Ur Rehman has lashed out at Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hassan for ignoring tenpin bowling in the upcoming Vth Asian Indoor Games, set to be held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from September this year.

Talking to The Nation, Ijaz said: “Being senior vice president of Islamabad Olympic Association (IOA), Gen Arif never bothered to take me into confidence. At a time, when no one was standing with him, I was the one, who supported him and convinced my friends to not only support but also vote for him for the betterment of sports in general and athletes in particular, but his anti-sports policies especially towards tenpin bowling, are highly condemnable.”

Ijaz said he had worked day and night to promote tenpin in the country. “I spent millions of rupees from my own pocket, arranged international tours for bowlers and invited top coaches to train youth in Pakistan, but all my efforts and investment was destroyed by the POA. I once again request not only the POA president but also the IPC minister Riaz Pirzada and PSB DG Akhtar Ganjera to look into this matter of grave concern.

“Pakistani bowlers have been training very hard for the upcoming Indoor Games since last year, but now all of a sudden and without any reason, the POA is not ready to send Pakistani bowlers to the competition. I sent entry of the players two months back through email to the POA chief, but I have yet to receive any reply.

“They are athletes, who bring laurels for country in international events, not the officials of POA and other federations, who always looking for joy-rides, depriving many of the players from representing the country in the mega events. What is the purpose of sending irrelevant persons to international events? The reason is very simple, the POA wants to oblige people just to get votes and favours in return,” he added.

Ijaz said last time in the IVth Asian Indoor Games held in Korea, when nobody was ready to send athletes for the competitions, when parallel POA issue was at peak, it was he, who came out in support of Gen Arif and for the prestige of Pakistan and send bowling team to Korea. “Although we selected fresh youth for the Korean event, yet they perform more than to our expectations. And this time, the bowlers are not only very experienced, but also keen to excel in indoor games. They are trained well by international coach, which we brought on self-finance basis and without any help from government. I hope the POA president will pay heed to our genuine demands and include tenpin team for the Vth Asian Indoor Games-bound contingent.”

While announcing the details of Azadi Cup Tenpin Bowling Championship 2017, Ijaz said the event would commence from August 9 here at Leisure City Bowling Club, Safa Gold Mall. “The grand opening ceremony will be held at 6pm and the IPC minister is most likely to inaugurate the event, in which more than 300 bowlers from across the country will be seen in action. The PTBF-supervised event includes singles professionals, doubles, team event, trios, media, women, deaf and amateur categories.”

“The main aim of conducting the mega event to gather all the national bowling players and to celebrate our Independence Day with full devotion and to give a message through sports to the world that we love our country and Pakistan is peaceful for hosting all kinds of sporting activities,” Ijaz concluded.