Federations asked to submit final squads by May 24

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By our correspondent

LAHORE: As some federations are yet to finalise their final squads for the Commonwealth Games so it was decided on Tuesday that all federations will have to submit final names with the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) by May 24 so that further arrangements for sending the contingent to the quadrennial event could be made in time.

This was decided in the meeting of the POA with those national federations who are set to field their squads in the Commonwealth Games slated to be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8.

“We in boxing are yet to finalise the squad as we are going to conduct an event from May 20-23 and so Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) told us that they cannot give us final list before May 20. There are similar issues of cricket and badminton also so we have decided that all federations will submit final lists with the NOC by May 24. The same lists will be shared with the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) on May 25 and within two days the Board will give us feedback that how many players and officials of the Birmingham-bound contingent the state can sponsor,” POA secretary Khalid Mehmood said.

The Director General of the PSB Col (retd) Mohammad Asif Zaman also attended the meeting via zoom from Islamabad.

Khalid hoped that the Board will sponsor the entire contingent.

“As boarding and lodging will be provided by the organisers and we will have to manage only tickets so I hope the PSB will sponsor the entire contingent for the Commonwealth Games,” said Khalid, also president of Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF).

Khalid said that in the first week of June the POA will also hold a doping seminar at Lahore for all those athletes going to Birmingham.

It was also learnt that some federations including badminton, swimming, boxing, table tennis and gymnastics said that their camps have not yet been held. A source said that the DG PSB promised that their camps will be started soon.

In the Commonwealth Games Pakistan will be featuring in wrestling, weightlifting, swimming, athletics, boxing, judo, squash, table tennis, hockey, women cricket, badminton, gymnastics, para athletics and para table tennis.

The DG PSB Col Asif said he extended his all out support to the federations but he insisted that smart squads with medal chances should be sent to Birmingham. “I told all federations that they should stick to smart squads and send only those athletes to Birmingham who could get medals. I will try my level best to back only potential medal winners,” Asif told this correspondent after the meeting.

“I also told the federations that the Board has set up their training camps and have hired foreign coaches and now it is upto them to prepare their lots so that top results could be produced in Birmingham,” Asif said.

“I also told all federations to share with the Board their final lists as soon as possible. I also told badminton federation to hold its camp in Lahore as Rodham Hall in the PSB headquarters in Islamabad is under renovation. I have also talked to the Punjab government for the camp of swimming as Sports Board Punjab has fine facilities. I had also told Army Director Sports to support boxing camp. The PSB will make travelling arrangements and manage kits besides giving 40 dollars daily allowance to the athletes going to Birmingham,” Asif said.

Aif said that by May 24 the PSB will hold a meeting with those federations whose athletes have a major chance of winning medals in the Commonwealth Games and Islamic Games.

It has been learnt that Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PWF) will submit the licenses validity documents of three grapplers with the POA today.

The PWF was also going to email a final list of an eight-member contingent for the Commonwealth Games to POA on Tuesday night. The PWF is set to send six  wrestlers including Ali Asad (67kg), Inayatullah (65kg), Mohammad Inam Butt (86kg), Sharif Tahir (74kg), Tayyab Raza (97kg) and Zaman Anwar (125kg) to Birmingham for featuring in the Commonwealth Games.

Ghulam Fareed will serve as coach while Arshad Sattar or Mubeen will accompany the squad as manager. The PWF also requested the PSB during the meeting that their camp strength should be increased to 30 as in Islamic Games Pakistan will feature in all ten weights and there should be at least three wrestlers in each weight in the camp. The PWF also once again requested the PSB that the federation has finalsied a deal with Kazakhstan and wants to send its wrestlers there for a 40-45 days training and the squad should be sent by the first week of June.

The tour will cost Rs5 million. Sources said that Col Asif told the PWF that he will do whatever he can.

A PWF source said if the Board did not back the foreign tour then the federation will have to manage it by itself by reducing the training duration.

“For experience foreign training tour is must,” the PWF source said.

The wrestling camp was resumed at the PSB Coaching Centre Lahore on Tuesday. Meanwhile Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWF) informed the POA and the PSB that all their final six weightlifters names, also including those suspended for doping reasons, are still in the Commonwealth Games list of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).

However the federation was told that it should let POA know about the updates whatever will be shared with the federation by the IWF about the outcome of the investigation.

As many as six weightlifters have been suspended for doping reasons and among them three including Talha Talib, Abu Bakar Ghani and Sharjeel Butt are in the Commonwealth Games squad.

The PWLF also requested the PSB to continue its camp at least for those weightlifters who are clean and are going to Birmingham. Sources said that the DG PSB promised that its camp will be resumed.