LAHORE - Presidential candidate of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) Major Gen (R) Akram Sahi has said that sports promotion across the country is his top priority and his aim of contesting the elections is to introduce a new culture in the country's sports.
Addressing a press conference here at a local hotel on Monday, Gen (R) Akram Sahi said: "It is the dire need of the hour to bring change in Pakistan Olympic Association and to introduce a new culture in Pakistan's sports to get better results and to focus on grooming of youth, women and rural areas players.”
Gen Sahi said majority of national sports federations and sports circles of the country are thinking on a common line of bringing a change in the POA for the overall betterment of sports across the country.
Gen (R) Sahi, who is also president of Athletic Federation of Pakistan (AFP), said that the sports persons had no secure future and there was a dire need to support them. “Most of sports persons across the country don’t have secure future which not only one of the main reasons behind sports decline in the country but also discouraging our youth to join the field of sports as a professional. I will try my best to create opportunities for them and try my best to make their future secure,” Sahi added.
To a query, he claimed that he was enjoying the support of majority of the national sports federations, services and departments and said he had come forward to bring a system which could revive the sagging fortune of Pakistan sports.
"I am confident of my success in the POA election and I think I have comfortable winning majority,” he asserted.
He said he was thankful to the national sports federations for reposing their confidence on him and if elected to power he would come up with a new vision to do his best to serve country's sports. "If elected and if fail to deliver within one year, I will prefer to step down rather continuing with the post," he said.
He said if elected he would strive hard to create competitive environment to support national sports federations for producing desired results in national and international events, home and abroad.
"It is the duty of respective national federations to live up to the expectations by fetching medals in elite sports events and his job will be extending all-out support to them in this regard," he maintained.
Highlighting his vision for the betterment of sports, he said, major focus would be given to youth, rural areas and women to identify talent and to groom them on modern lines as Pakistan is rich in talent and there is a dire need to pay attention to it on professional lines.
To a query, he replied that governments kept changing and main emphasis should be laid on making POA financially viable to meet ever growing challenges in the field of sports to provide funds to national sports federations to prepare for high profile sports events.
When asked to reveal the names of the sports federations who are backing him in the elections, he answered: “It is too early to expose my supporters and every thing will come to reality on the day of elections, however, for the post of POA secretary, I have six names under consideration who are supporting me well including Qamar Zaman, Nadeem Sindhu, Ziaul Hassan and three from Army Col Zafar, Col Qaiser and Major Afzal.”