POA holds PSB responsible for athletes’ misery, underperformance in Olympics
Pakistan Olympics Association (POA) Tuesday held the Pakistan Sports Board responsible for the athletes’ unpreparedness at the highest level of the sports.
In a statement, the POA said had the Pakistan Sports Board lived up to its responsibilities Pakistan would have seen Talha Talib on the Podium alongwith Joseph Gulfam and others who are yet to compete in the days to come.
“Yesterday we witnessed an amazing performance by Mr. Talha Talib securing fifth position in the 67Kg Weightlifting event of world's most prestigious sporting gala 'Tokyo 2020'. His performance manifests the resolve which not only will encourage his fellow Olympians at Tokyo but those who are working hard to raise national flag at international arenas. Talha has done us proud.”
“Right at the outset let us make certain aspects very clear. The Pakistan Olympic Association is NOT RESPONSIBLE for the Sports Development in the country. This is the responsibility of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and they state it also as such in their own Rules which are available on their website (http://www.sports.gov.pk). Pertinent ones are reproduced below for ease of understanding:
“To promote and develop standards of national fitness as well as standards of competition, comparable to the International standards”.
“To encourage, promote and undertake all such measures as would assist in the development of sports in Pakistan.
“To arrange and secure foreign training facilities and scholarships for Pakistani Coaches, Sports Organizations and sportsmen;
It is also supposed to “sponsor and provide administrative and financial support for exchange of sports teams, coaches, organizers and delegations with various countries at international level;
“To implement and monitor sports policy in conformity with national objectives and to recommend measures for designing and development of sports policy”;
“To make the public sports-conscious and to encourage their participation in the national and international sports events”;
“To construct, develop and maintain the National Stadia, Gymnasia, Sports Training and Coaching Centres, Squash Courts, Golf Courses and other play fields;”
The POA on the other hand is the “Representative of IOC & OCA for Olympic Movement in Pakistan and is mandated to Foster Olympism through Sports and Education, the statement declared.
“It is our stated position, duly conveyed to the concerned quarters on multiple occasions, that the existing facilities and financial support for our sportspersons are the lowest in the region despite which our athletes have made tremendous strides in their respective sports events as is evident from Talha Talib's performance.:
The POA said on May 31, 2021 POA categorically stated its concerns vide a Press Release about the surrendered Rs.440 Million and that too in the Olympic year. This money could and should have been utilized for further specialized training of those athletes who had qualified on their own steam. It could have been utilized to assist other athletes who were capable of qualifying but could not do so as they nor their Federations have the resources. Had this been done Talha and Gulfam may have been on the podium at Tokyo. Inam and Bilal (wrestling) were not supported the way elite athletes should be. Others like Saadi Abbas lacked the resources to train and qualify. The grant from the amount not surrendered was doled out at the end of the financial year with no basis or criteria of allotment and was therefore frittered away.”
“President POA in the meeting of Pakistan Sports Board held in September 2020 requested Minister IPC to ensure financial support to athletes who have qualified so as to try for a podium finish and for those who are in the process/capable of qualification. He also requested for provision of international standard equipment for the qualified athletes to train with. He was categorically told that a summary has been moved for the approval of the PM. This unfortunately later proved to be not true. Had the funds been provided to athletes, more athletes including Muhammad Inam and Muhammad Bilal from Wrestling could have qualified. It is the sole discretion of the Governmental authorities to decide whether there is any need to create a supporting system for elite athletes or not.”
POA, through IOC, managed Scholarships and financial support for athletes that has benefited all the three qualified Shooters, Talha Talib and Bismah Khan who are part of the Pakistan Contingent at Tokyo 2020. The total amount of IOC Financial Support for Athletes is US $ 242,000/-. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the IOC for their support. Apart from these scholarships, POA funded the complete contingent for its travelling and Covid testing for participation in the Games although this was always funded by the PSB as per their mandate. Even the dope testing prior to departure was financed by POA specially through the provision of kits as the Government has not funded the National Anti-Doping Organization of Pakistan although it is required to do so as per the requirements of WADA and the UN. Reportedly PSB has reimbursed the amount spent by POA for doping to NADO.
POA has always expressed its readiness to assist and can assume an advisory role if desired by the authorities to establish an elite sports development program however the National Sports Federations shall remain custodian of their Games. POA's exclusive domain is to monitor observance of Olympic Charter and WADA Code in Pakistan.
“We strongly condemn baseless and misleading information being spread about Pakistan Olympic Association(POA) and its office bearers. POA is a non-governmental and non profit organisation entrusted to promote Olympic Values in Pakistan. POA has to remain within its domain as defined in Olympic Charter. It is categorically stated that neither POA gets any financial support from the Government of Pakistan nor its elected office bearers are paid employees, instead they serve on voluntary basis. We strongly believe that certain quarters are spreading disinformation about POA to divert attention from the main issues like lack of resources and infrastructure for sports in Pakistan and for certain other ulterior motives to malign institutions including POA. POA will continue to discharge its obligations as entrusted in the Olympic Charter.”