LAHORE-International badminton coach Raziuddin Ahmad has urged the government and higher authorities of sports and education fields to take drastic steps to save the sinking ship of Pakistan sports. Talking to The Nation here on Tuesday, Razi gave a wakeup call to educational authorities, saying the country is losing its identity at international level due to poor infrastructure of school sports and soon it will face a serious destruction at national level in the shape of unhealthy generation.

“Our children lack vitamin D as they have weak resistance power, low Haemoglobin level, stumpy bodies and unhealthy lungs. All these can be improved only with effective exercises and healthy activities at grassroots level, which unfortunately is trifling in the entire country,” he said.

Razi added: “In February just before coronavirus inflated, I visited a government school in Rawalpindi and found pale faces commonly in both genders. The children were dragging their books on trolley bags as their shoulders were too weak to bear the load while many were wearing glasses. There could be many other reasons but sports and physical activities are vital at teenage.

“It seems the role of sports teacher is no less than a whistle blower to maintain the discipline and organising the school assembly. There is no proper system to conduct sports classes on regular basis. Every national education board has a calendar of yearly sports as a formality.

“Amazingly, there are nine Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education in Punjab, which have almost 53,000 affiliated public schools, but their participation in sports is as low as 1.2% according to their prescribed sports calendar. The data of affiliated private schools is more miserable, as most of them lack facility of proper ground, which is totally against the registration criteria of boards.”

The international coach said that schools are considered to be nursery of sports across the world. “If this age group is not dealt correctly, then no one can stop Pakistan sports from declining rapidly at international level. It is the country, which used to rule the world in squash and hockey while it also earned honours in snooker, cricket, athletics, boxing and wrestling. But with very less interest of our youth in healthy sports activities, they are declining very fast in Pakistan.”

Describing the importance of healthy activities at grassroots level, the UKCC Level-2 qualified coach, who is also ready to serve the country in any capacity, said that there must be a sports syllabus to build strong youth gradually and make a sound base for any sports as per abilities of the kids.

“It is my humble request to Prime Minister Imran Khan, who himself is a sportsman, and also to sports and education authorities to look into the matter and set a proper infrastructure for school level, which is not in practice yet. There is a dire need to take drastic steps in this regard so that we may start preparing our youth towards achieving big goals in sports at international level,” Razi concluded.