LAHORE           -         Former Pakistan Davis Cupper and renowned coach Rashid Malik has lauded the government for announcing the resumption of sports activities after Eid-ul-Azha.

Talking to The Nation on Sunday, Malik (Tamgha-e-Imtiaz) said: “Although IPC Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza has announced that the date of resuming the sports activities will be announced after Eid holidays, yet it is a good omen for the sportspersons and sports organisers, who are eagerly waiting for the return of sports, as already they have suffered a lot due to COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said that each and every player and organiser should strictly follow the SOPs to be issued by government after Eid, when the sports activities will be resumed. “The more we follow the SOPs while playing and organising the sports events, the better it will be for every single player and organiser and in this way, the sports activities will gradually be normalised and it will put a new lease of life in Pakistan sports.”

Malik, who is also General Secretary of Punjab Lawn Tennis Association (PLTA), said that the PLTA meeting was held under the chair of its chairman Iftikhar Ahmad Rao and the committee decided to open the academy after Eid holidays, soon after the announcement of the federal government for the resumption of sports activities.

“Last year, the PLTA, under the dynamic leadership of chairman Iftikhar Ahmad Rao, had earned the honour of conducting a record number of tennis events at junior and senior levels and this year too, we had planned to break the previous year’s record, but due to Coronavirus pandemic, our plans badly suffered. “Now, we have to reschedule the events, when the sports activities are resumed after Eid.

“We will start our activities with Rafum Junior Tennis Initiative (JTI) program, where top 10 juniors of Punjab are taking free coaching and training for the last couple of years. We are keen to conduct the pending tournaments as well as the new ones one after another. Hopefully this year too, we will be the only unit of Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF), which will conduct a record number of tennis events for the second consecutive year.

“We are providing a platform to youth and also maximum tennis activities and tournaments to them, so that they may exhibit their prowess and excel at higher level. The best among them will be then trained and groomed under the PLTA’s professional coaches, so that they may learn well and with dedication, determination and hard work, they become future tennis stars and serve the country at national and international level,” Malik concluded.