Iniesta keen to extend Barcelona contract

MADRID - Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta says he wants to stay on at the Catalan club ‘for a long time’ after his current contract with the club expires in 2018. “In 2018 my contract ends and my desire is to continue, the whole world knows this, it is no secret. But my level of performance will determine if I can stay at Barca. I hope it will be for a long time,” the 32-year-old said. Barcelona recently reached a deal to extend the contract of Uruguay striker Luis Suarez to June 2021. His previous deal was due to expire in 2019. In October, the club also extended the contract of Brazilian superstar Neymar until 2021 and they have already started talks to seal a new deal with Lionel Messi. Along with Messi, Iniesta is Barcelona’s most decorated player ever with 29 trophies.–AFP



NA Standing Committee meeting held

ISLAMABAD – The National Assembly Standing Committee on Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) met here at Pakistan Sports Complex, committee room under the chair of Abdul Qahar Khan Wardan on Monday. Ruling party MNA Rana Afzal once again raised the issue of pushups by the national team captain and players during England tour. He said: “Some circles are trying to give impression that I raise the issue due to army and now people have started calling me Rana Afzal pushups and demanded the committee to put pushups issue on committee agenda,” he added. IPC minister Mian Riaz said Najam Sethi had given clarification regarding pushups and the issue was over now. He also clarified the players only performed pushups to celebrate victory and it had nothing to do with politics, upon which the committee chairman said he would try to include pushups issue in next meeting and adjourned the meeting.–Staff Reporter


Pak-Suzuki Motor Polo Cup starts today

LAHORE - The eight-goal Pak-Suzuki Motor Polo Cup 2016-17 will commence today (Tuesday) here at the Lahore Polo Club (LPC) ground. Top six teams have been featuring in the event, which are further divided into two pools. Pool A consists of Momin Ghee, ZTBL and Army Colts while Pool B comprises Pebble Breakers, Master Paints/Newage and Dollar East. The first match of the event will be played between ZTBL and Momin Ghee at 1:45pm while in Pool B, Pebble Breakers will take on Master Paints at 2:50pm. LPC executive committee member Agha Najeeb has thanked Pak-Suzuki Motors for sponsoring this event and hoped they would continue their support for promotion of polo. “The presence of two foreign polo players will further enthrall the event and provide spectators opportunities to enjoy polo fully.”–Staff Reporter


Pak tennis ace Aisam leaves for Australia

LAHORE – Pakistan tennis ace Aisam-ul-Haq left on Monday for Australia to participate in Australian Open Grand Slam Tennis Championship being played from January 16. Before the Australian Open, he will feature in the ATP World Tennis Championships in Brisbane (Australia) and Auckland (New Zealand). "It is going to be a tough event (Australian Open) but I am in good shape and spirit to do my best,” he said before leaving for Australia. Aisam said he was playing every international with a mind set to lift the level of his game and he was quite confident to rise to the occasion during the tour of Australia and New Zealand. "Participation in high-profile tennis events requires top physical fitness and best of your playing abilities and I will be getting into rhythm by taking part in the ATP World Tennis Championship in Australia and New Zealand,” he said. After Australian Open, Aisam will be returning home to be a part of the Pakistan team to play in the crucial Davis Cup tie against Iran in the first week of February. "Davis Cup tie will be a challenging event as the Iranian side is a tough side to beat and as an experienced team player I will be having much load of responsibility on me to play my due role for living up to the expectations,” said confident Aisam. He said participation in elite tennis events in Australia and New Zealand would be an added advantage for him and he would be fully prepared when Pakistan took on Iran in Davis Cup encounter. Replying to a query, Aisam said he was enjoying playing tennis by maintaining top fitness and he wanted to inspire the fellow young tennis players to win glory for the country.–Staff Reporter