Commonwealth Games

The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Eng­land are underway, and so far, Pakistani athletes ap­pear to be performing well. Pakistani badminton players put up a good showing in their respective match­es on Wednesday. The breakthrough so far has been when two Pakistani athletes won medals—judoka Shah Hussain got Pakistan off the mark on the medals table when he won bronze in the men’s 90kg category at the Coventry Stadium, and later, Weightlifter Nooh Dastagir Butt won the gold med­al with a record lift of 405kg.

This is a proud moment for Pakistan. Time and time again, our athletes have proven to us the enormous potential they have for success at the international level despite being ec­onomically disadvantaged compared to other competitors. Who can forget the 2020 achievement of Arshad Nadeem, who came closer to winning an Olympic medal for men’s jav­elin throw than any Pakistani before in the category.

These moments are lessons for the government, particu­larly the Pakistan Sports Board. Our athletes have achieved what they have, without the requisite support and funding that benefits their competitors. Our athletes have the poten­tial to be the best in the world; the lack of encouragement, funds, training and respect have left them behind the rest of the world. Previous athletes who have made it to the Olym­pics and other international games have received shockingly low funding and support. It cannot be denied that sports play a vital role in our national spirit and it cannot be left neglect­ed. There is a need to improve the reconstitution of the Paki­stan Sports Board—it must be noted that the Pakistan Hock­ey Federation (PHF) is not even represented on the board. If more is done to encourage and facilitate them through in­creasing facilities, services and funding, there is no doubt we would bring home more international accreditation.

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