ISLAMABAD - A very lean day for Pakistan in the 12th South Asian Games, as none of their athletes managed to win gold medal in Guwati on Thursday.

Pakistan contingent has so far managed to win seven golds, 22 silvers and 42 bronze medals. The Pakistan athletes did manage to win a few silver and bronze medals but no gold medal was won by any green shirt. Pakistan’s fastest runner Liaqat Ali finally managed to win a bronze medal in 200m, while ace tennis star Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi and lone international female player Ushna Suhail also clinched bronze medals in tennis singles matches. In shooting female team event, Pakistan team comprising Nazish Khan, Nadia and Nadar won silver medal, while Siddique Umar won bronze in individual bronze medal. Mehmood Ali won bronze medal in 400m hurdle, Rehan Anjum earned bronze medal in long jump, Arshad Nadeem secured bronze in javelin throw and also set new national record, M Afzal bagged bronze medal in triple jump and M Wasin lifted bronze medal in shot put.

Pakistan women handball team lost to Bangladesh 24-31 while women kabaddi team thumped Nepal 34-13 in the first kabaddi match. The inside sources present at the venue confirmed to this correspondent that Pakistani kabaddi team players faced a lot of difficulties as Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) didn’t bother to send a single female lady official with the squad, while it is mandatory to send a female official with the ladies team but the PKF only sent male coach and manager with both the teams.

The sources further disclosed that male coach kept on visiting female rooms, which is quite strange and also strictly prohibited. “Pakistan kabaddi team vice captain Saira Shah is seriously ill and her condition was very pathetic last night but due to non-availability of female official with Pakistan team, she wasn’t being treated well there.”

The sources in Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) blamed the board for not providing suitable practice area to hot favourite hammer thrower Shakeel, who was also the defending champion. He was forced to train at place near PSB mosque, which was not suitable for him and this was the main reason that he couldn’t win gold. Athletic coaches are solely responsible for hiding actual facts, Liaqat Ali has never clocked such below par, as his average time was 10.50, but he clocked 10.69 in India. World is using digital clocks for checking times, while our coaches are still depending on manual methods and hiding actual facts.

The sources revealed that Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) was provided with six complementary tickets by the travel agents, which PSB DG Dr AKhtar Nawaz Ganjera was holding on, as he wanted to remain in the minister’s good books and wanted to take him and IPC secretary along with a few close aides for joyrides and wanted to show them places in India. “For this purpose, Ganjera not only managed to get visas of different Indian cities for Dr Waqar, IPC minister Mian Riaz and IPC secretary M Ali Gardezi, who look highly unlikely to travel to India,” they added.

“Pakistan contingent failed to even close to benchmark of 19 gold medals target set by the IPC secretary and PSB DG. Ganjera is reluctant to use complementary tickets until and unless, there is no possibility left in the minister and secretary’s departure. At one end, Pakistan players were suffering due to non-availability of physio and not a single female massager was sent with the contingent. Dr Mannan, who was included in the contingent as physio, was not dropped at the 11th hour, while Gnajera’s blue-eyed persons Fayyaz and Shabana were enjoying free-ride on national wealth. Instead of taking stern action against PSB DG self-styled policies which have been inflicting huge damages on national cause, IPC minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada has put his entire weight behind him.

The sources in the PSB have confirmed that the IPC minister along with IPC secretary had closed doors meeting in his office located inside the PSB and termed media reports as negative saying, “As long as I am the minister, nobody can dare to touch PSB DG. What a misuse of powers, if the minister keeps on closing his eyes on matter of grave importance for the country, it will prove very harmful for Pakistan sports.”

The time is high when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should take notice of the entire saga and provide justice to the genuine players, coaches and PSB officials, who have given their entire lives to the department, but their services were never recognized. At one end, officials are waiting for years to get overdue promotion, while on the other hand, Ganjera has promoted Dr Waqar as DDG without getting approval from the concerned authorities. Any further delays in taking action against these incompetent officials can spell further disaster for Pakistani sports.