ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Deputy Director General Administration Mansoor Ahmed has blamed athletes’ low morale for debacle of Pakistan team in the Asian Games 2018.
Talking to The Nation, Mansoor, who was deputy chef-de-mission of Pakistani contingent which took part in the Asian Games in Jakarta, said: “I was with the contingent and I had witnessed almost all the events. We took part in 24 disciplines and I was so upset to see, the way majority of our athletes entered the competitions. They completely lacked winning mentality and desire to excel at the top and those, who won including Arshad and Nargis, it was clearly evident from their body languages that they wanted to win for the country.”
Mansoor said: “As far as Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) role is concerned, all the stakeholders should sit and sort out problems. I will present a detailed report to Acting Director General Arif Ibrahim and he will forward the report to IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza.
“It is true that there is a huge difference between our athletes and other participating nations, as they have huge funding of millions of rupees while their athletes are provided with best coaching, nutrition, training and facilities, but it doesn’t mean that we haven’t provided our athletes training and facilities,” he added.
He said Pakistan team has not a single speed boat, which is required for sailing while on the other hand, Indian sailors have hired foreign coach and have modern equipment. “When I was bucking up my athletes, they all had that fear factor of playing against the top nations. Indonesian teenager managed to beat Olympic and world champions as well as world No 3 in badminton to claim gold medal for his country.
“I had detailed conversations with different athletes and coaches regarding their training, meal and diet. Yes, we are far behind in these departments and need rapid improvement to brighten our chances of winning medals. We also don’t have a single indoor stadium, while out tatan-track is in shambles and there is an urgent need to replace these tracks. The PSB is doing a fantastic job, but there is always room for improvement,” he added.
The PSB official said the PSB has cut the expenditures and ensured that the athletes may get best training under world’s best coaches. He agreed that cost-cutting measures may be adopted and everybody has to contribute for national cause. “A few days or months camps are not enough to produce champions. Off course, all the participating athletes were there to win and it was difficult for Pakistani players to beat the best in the business but not impossible.
“We could have easily won medal in hockey, but it slipped out of our hands. The stamina holds the key, but the green shirts got relaxed, as they had beaten Japan in the practice matches, so they took them very lightly. The moment the semifinal started, Japan took Pakistan defence to the sword, as they placed two players with our goalkeeper and they were sending long balls. Our players took too much pressure, which resulted in semifinal defeat,” he added.
He said there is dire need to invest heavily in sports. “We have great chances of winning international medals in different sports but for this, we need to invest heavily on the players. The POA and all the federations must join hands and focus on providing training to top four male and female players, rather than in bulks. It makes no sense of sending players in numbers, despite having no chances of winning medals. “We have to dig deep and start work on 8 to 12 years old boys and girls. We need to revive departmental sports soon, as I am sure that we have potential and breed of athletes, who, if provided with training and nutrition under top coaches, can deliver for the country,” Mansoor concluded.