ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s national weightlifting champion in upto 94kg weight category Usman Amjed Wednesday lamented the lack of government support and demanded a proper weightlifting arena for weightlifters, as Pakistan doesn’t have a single such place for weightlifting in entire country.

Usman, who is national champion since 2008 and had also won gold, silver and bronze medals at Asian level and holds Asian record he set in 2010 in snatch, said he could easily won the medals for country if provided with the opportunities.

A Commonwealth Games silver medallist in 2015, the 30-year old said he started the game in 1999 but could only manage to represent country in 8 or 9 international events despite such a long career and always returned with medals.

Usman said the current facility given to them by the PSB in Jinnah Stadium under stairs was a joke with the players requested the DG PSB to allocate proper space for their training. He said without latest international standard equipments, they can’t even think about competing against the top weightlifters and winning gold or other medals is not more than daydreaming. He said they were still waiting for 2016 12th South Asian Games prize money.

He said despite DG PSB Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera’s promise the lifters were getting same old only Rs100 as daily allowance and same is the case with the coaches as well. Usman said the board should at least send coaches abroad for training to help train the upcoming players.

He said he had also trained in Ukraine in 2010 for three months and bored all his expenses and rued under such conditions how on earth one can expect youngsters to turn their attentions towards weightlifting. He said weightlifting is a medal winning sport for the country and the government should also treat it like hockey and cricket.

Usman said other sports medal winners neither got any recognition or support from the government. He said they are being treated as aliens despite raising white and green flag high on many occasions in the world. He demanded an end to this step-motherly treatment and at least providing the players a proper training facility and opportunities to represent the country at the international level.

 About his chances in the coming Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Usman said he was highly hopeful. “Although we are competing for the first time in Solidarity Games, but we can win medals.”Usman said at least 8 to 10 weightlifters must be sent to these games as short contingent will not help our cause as each and every individual is capable of winning medals. “I strongly suggest not only full-scale team should be sent but coaches should also be sent to ensure higher finish,” he added.

He said Wapda is providing jobs to weightlifters and taking good care of them. “I believe other departments should also step forward and provide jobs and sent players abroad for much-needed international exposure. It will help country and athlete and enhance his or her chances of winning medals,” Usman concluded.