ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Acting Director General Arif Ibrahim has confirmed that first badge of Pakistan contingent for Asian Games will depart on late Friday night for Jakarta, as $160,000 has been arranged for the expenses and dailies of the athletes and officials.

Talking to The Nation, Arif said: “I have cancelled all the past contracts with shoes providers and also ensured from next time, fresh parties will provide tracksuits to athletes through the PSB, as the shoes provided by the vendors in the past were substandard and very costly. A pair of shoes, which is easily available in the market for around Rs 800 or less, was costing around Rs 7000 to the PSB.

“Now I have arranged shoes through world class providers Nike, who will not only provide the world’s best shoes to our athletes but also give us 15 percent discount and a pair will hardly cost Rs 5,000, it will not only give athletes complete satisfaction but also quality and save national kitty as well. We will provide coupons to the athletes and coaches, who are travelling with the Pakistani contingent and they will collect shoes from Nike stores,” he added.

He said in the past two months or so, he has regularly visited different facilities and training camps and also formed a three-member monitoring committee to check the training methods, meal and facilities being provided to the athletes. “It is our duty to provide every facility to the players, arrange funds and send them aboard, but in return, we only expect them to fight their hearts out and try to raise national flag high.”

The PSB DG said that he is very satisfied with the training camps as not a single complaint was reported, which is a huge achievement of PSB staff. “The PSB has written letters to respective federations and POA to send nominations of around 500 male and female athletes, who have represented Pakistan and won medals, as we want to issue them insurance policies,” Arif concluded.

Deputy Director General Technical and Training M Azam Dar, who is also director national federations, said: “It was in the past decided to curtail the strength of the federations affiliated with PSB and pass on maximum benefits to medal-winning federations, as only handful of federations are properly working, while majority of them only exist in papers or in one room. I am hopeful now PTI government is taking charge and change will also come in sports and we will be given more powers to deal with fake or non-performing federations.”

He said that he agreed that the PSB is not giving that amount of funds, which the federations should have, but it is not intentionally, as the PSB don’t have funds. “Even in highly selective funds, we try to fulfill all demands of the federations. We have divided the federations into three categories, on top are those federations, which are sure to win medals and we try to invest heavily on them. At second are those federations, which have chances to win medals while on third are those, which at least show potential.

“Last time, we gave top most priority to medal-winning athletes and this time as well, we are hopeful of winning medals in athletics, wushu, hockey, karate and a few other sports. We wanted to establish judo camp, but we told them to ensure process being carried through POA, as we don’t want to enter in any sort of conflict. The POA has selected two judokas, Shah Hussian and Qaiser and if the POA recommends, we are ready to help the judo federation,” he added.

“The PSB will bear the expenses of 140 persons and if we get special grant, we have told the federations that we will bear expenses of further 100 plus, but in case, the PSB doesn’t get the required funds from government, then we will deduct the amount spent on extra athletes and officials from federations’ annual grants. The he emphasize is on the importance of sending PSB-IPC officials with Pakistani contingents as it will help them to learn and exchange views with international counterparts which will benefit the players in return,” Dar concluded.