Recently I had a chance to attend the junior national boys swimming championship for 10- to 16- year olds held in Peshawar. It was such an encouraging sight to see swimmers as young as 10 compete in a 50-meter pool under strict professional management. Their discipline, focus and training was commendable, especially children participating from Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The majority visibly lacked any form of privilege and yet was able to hold their position among swimmers training with the best coaches and training conditions in the country. All kudos goes to the management of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Swimming Association for organising a great event. There were hitches and glitches but all was handled well. It was indeed a sad state of affairs to see that the swimming federation was unable to get even a single sponsor for the event and hence the teams coming from different provinces had to travel by road, stay in dorms, compete and go back. There were no glorified uniforms, kits or even a celebratory dinner. Companies come up with great campaigns where they talk about champions, but are absent when championships are actually happening.

When will we ever realise that we need to encourage active participation in extracurricular activities by children so that they do not indulge in fraudulent acts and that all those sitting on budgets to indulge in media spend to make a big difference to the lives of these young dedicated children.


Karachi, July 11.