KARACHI Pakistan will field a small contingent of 72 athletes in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games to be held in October, a senior official of Pakistan Sports Board said at a media conference called by Federal Sports Minister Ejaz Ahmed Jhakarani here at NSTCC on Monday. The media briefing was to begin at one in the afternoon but it started two-and-half hours late because the minister was caught up in a traffic mess near Metropole hotel and reached the venue minutes before a big media crop were about to leave the premises as they had to go to attend other assignments. However, the minister explained the reason of his late arrival and asked the journalists, most of them his friends, to attend the briefing which lasted halfan hour. At the start of the briefing the minister apologised to the journalists for the delay. The minister informed that hardly 142 days were left for the Games in which Pakistan had always won a good number of medals. The minister deflected the query to the acting DG of Pakistan Sports Board Waheed Mughal sitting beside him. Wahid Mughal, a veteran sportsman and sports organiser who is serving PSB for the last few decades, informed the media that according to rules of the games, Pakistan would be allowed to field a 72-member squad in the Games. He said Pakistan will field athletes in 17 disciplines. The selection of the contingent would be made on merit and the decisions would be taken by the PSB, POA and Sports Ministry at an appropriate time. In the meantime, the Sports Ministry and the PSB have advised national federations in selected sports to hold training camps in their disciplines. Camps in some disciplines had already begun in April and some national federations who would hold their national championship soon will hold the camp at the end of their championships. He said as many as 284 athletes would attend the camp. He said the programme for preparing Pakistan contingent for the Commonwealth Games was taken about a month back at a meeting of the POA, PSB and representatives of the Sports Ministry. A detailed programme was chalked out for selecting the disciplines in which Pakistan should field athletes and dates for training camp were also finalised. The minister, who had gone to the West Indies to watch the ICC World Twenty20, returned home on Sunday via England where he stayed for a few days on his return journey. Speaking on Pakistan teams performance in the World Twenty20, he said it was difficult to chase a big target of 190 against Australia but when the target against New Zealand was low, Pakistan still failed. He said he had met the team members during his stay in the West Indies but he did not find evidence of any kind of infighting. When asked would his ministry carry out an enquiry into the performance of the team in the West Indies, the minister said it did not look appropriate to comment when the team was abroad. However, the ministry would decide the course of action after the team returns home. He said he also had the opportunity to interact with the officials of the ICC at the World Twenty20 during stay there. He said he had told some foreign officials that Pakistan needed international cricket at home and assured them that the government would provide strong security if any team decided to come to Pakistan. He said he knew that foreign teams avoid visiting Pakistan for security reasons. Both Pakistan and Indian could play at neutral venue, he added.. He said money was needed to run a sports body like PCB and Pakistan/India series at home or at an off-shore neutral venue would remain a big revenue generating event. In his opening remarks, the minister said in pursuance of the Prime Ministers directives to revive the sports activities at grass-roots level especially involving the educational institutions, the ministry had conceived the flexible program in the name of From battle-field to Sports-field. To kick off the sports activities the PSB/sports ministry were organizing female sports competitions at Islamabad with the cooperation and coordination of educational institutions and sports associations of respective games. In the first phase, an Inter schools/inter-collegiate-open competition for women will be held from May 12-14 at Pakistan Sports Complex, Islamabad. Badminton and Table Tennis have been picked up at first stage. At the second stage, the same competitions would be organized in provincial capitals with the addition of athletics and football. During these competitions selection process will be carried out to short-list the reasonable number of talented players in each game and will be provided training and coaching facility to be supervised by national coaches at PSB coaching centers. The second step of the competition will commence from the first week of June followed by one month summer training camp in nine different games listed below: Karachi: Table tennis: badminton, athletics and boxing Lahore: Boxing, athletics, badminton and weightlifting Peshawar: Squash, table tennis and athletics Quetta: Karate, wushu, football and boxing Islamabad: Table Tennis, badminton, athletics and football.