ISLAMABAD
Pakistan's proud son M Sajjad (silver medallist) and daughter Sumira Tayyaba (bronze medallist) are still waiting to get incentives from Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) ministry and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) despite a lapse of almost a month.
Both Sajjad and Sumira won silver and bronze in 60m race of the 22nd Fajr International Indoor Athletics Competitions 2015 in Tehran, Iran held last month. As many as 13 international countries took part in the high-profile event, in which a number of countries left empty-handed, but Sajjad and Sumira saved Pakistan blushes and managed to win two medals for the country.  It was being expected they would be given due recognition and at least the prime minister would announce some incentive or reward for them, but to utter disappointment, the PM House didn’t bother to even say a few words of appreciation for the wonder kids, so announcing incentives was a far cry.
IPC minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada also doesn’t have time to at least say a few words of appreciation for the medal winners, who despite lacking indoor training facilities managed such feat. At one hand, the IPC makes tall claims about sports promotion but on the other hand, nothing in reality is being done for the medal winners to boost their morale. Such a rude behavior by the IPC, PSB can dampen not only the athletes’ hopes but can also prove fatal for the country's image. They deserve better treatment and motivation in form of recognising their achievements and awarding them with cash awards.
Talking to The Nation, Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) president Major General (r) M Akram Sahi said: “It hurts when the medal winning athletes don’t get any recognition. The AFP will invite the athletes in the first week of April during the national athletics championship and reward them according to set rules. I am ready to go beyond the set criteria, as all know, we have very limited budget, but even then, I am ready to honour the athletes, who earned good name and fame for the country.”
“I urge the IPC minister and the prime minister to take notice of Sajjad and Sumira’s performance and announce a sizable reward for both the shining stars. We are preparing for the Grand Prix, and anything encouraging from highest office of the country can help the athletes earn more laurels for the country. I hope the PM, the IPC minister and the PSB will take serious notice and honour the athletes,” Sahi concluded.
It is pertinent to mention here that Sajjad had also won silver medal in the last Fajr international competition. It was very first international event of Sumira's career and she didn't disappoint, rather won bronze in the very first attempt. Now the time is high when these athletes should be given due appreciation and rewards or else forget about winning medals in international events.