2022 to be celebrated as the Year of Sports in Pakistan: Col. Asif Zaman

SBP coaches give final touches to preparation for Punjab athletics teams
SBP coaches give final touches to preparation for Punjab athletics teams

PESHAWAR, Jul 11 (APP): DG Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Col. (Retd) Asif Zaman Sunday said that he had tasked to re-track derailed sporting affairs of Pakistan and he has decided to celebrate 2022 as the “Year of Sports in Pakistan”.

Talking to media men during his visit to PSB Coaching Center Peshawar, Col. Asif Zaman said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s capital city Peshawar has matchless contribution in the overall sporting affairs of Pakistan because it produces legends after legends in Squash, Hockey, Volleyball, Football, Badminton, Table Tennis, Athletics, Martial Arts Games, Wrestling’s, Boxing, Cycling etc who over the year have been rendering great services for the name and fame of Pakistan at international level.

The Sports Board, sports federations and journalist organizations also have to play their role in restoring the full dignity of sports, he said. The PSB, sports boards at provincial levels, federations and sports journalists’ will have to play their part in restoring sports in the fields affected by the corona virus besides internal politics of the associations and federations.

Asif Zaman Khan was accompanied by former hockey Olympian Rahim Khan, Secretary General AIPs Asia Amjad Aziz Malik, Director PSB Coaching and Training Center Peshawar Pervez, President Sports Writers Association Ijaz Ahmad Khan and a large number of journalists from Peshawar.

Asif Zaman said that all sports activities in Pakistan like other countries had been severely affected due to Coronavirus. Pakistan is going to host the upcoming South Asian Games which will restore the colors in the sports fields in Pakistan, he said.

He disclosed that grants have been released to more than 30 national federations so that the federations can play their positive and constructive role in the development of sports at the grassroots level in the country.

He said, 2022 will be celebrated as the Year of Sports and sports fields will be engaged with different sporting activities across the country. He said, all expenses of athletes and officials participating in the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics have been bore-in by the federal government.

The national federations, Sports Board and media together can bring back the golden age of sports in Pakistan, Asif Zaman added. Asif Zaman said that the main responsibility of PSB was to bring all the stakeholders together and they would do their best to make sports in the country flourish once and for all.

He said that the athletes and officials going to Tokyo Olympics have been selected by the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) but the Sports Board has provided all possible facilities to the athletes and officials.

He said that due to the Corona pandemic, the players faced severe difficulties and sports competitions could not be held so they have decided to celebrate next year as the year of sports. In this regard, parents also need to encourage their children to play sports.

He said that the facilities of PSB would be further improved in line with international requirements. The provision of international coaches has also been assured and practical steps are being taken in this regard, he told and added that PSB would take the best steps for the South Asian Games while the preparation of the players was the responsibility of the federations and he was sure that after organizing the camps and availability of the best coaches for the players, the Pakistani players would do their best.

He said, preparations are already underway for the smooth conduct of these games besides players’ preparation, camps and other facilities would be ensured well before the commencement of the South Asian Games in Lahore. He said, POA along with PSB is ready to work in close contact for the success of these Games and besides Lahore, it would also be planned to have some Games in other cities including Karachi, Islamabad and Peshawar as well.

He further said that it was the responsibility of the PSB to provide facilities in the field of sports and ensure the provision of grants to the sports federations. He said that the PSB asked the federations to have international coaches and currently we have coaches from Iran, Cuba and China.

He said that after the 18th Amendment, players would have to be selected at grass roots level from all the provinces. “Sports will not be a source of income. Athletes are charged a very low membership fee in the field of sports which is only charged for taking ownership of the players,” he said.