IPC-POA to work jointly for ensuring successful South Asian Games

By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for IPC Ehsan-Ur-Rehman Mazari has assured Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) that both the ministry and NOC would smartly coordinate to ensure the 14th South Asian Games are hosted by Pakistan in the most befitting way, it was reliably learnt.

The News has learnt from insiders that the meeting between POA and the minister was held at the latter’s office in Islamabad on Wednesday.

The basic objective of the meeting was to apprise the new minister about the 14th South Asian Games which Pakistan is supposed to host next year. The POA Secretary General Khalid Mahmood briefed the minister in detail about the formation and function of POA and organisation of the South Asian Games.

In the previous regime of PTI the former IPC minister Dr Fehmida Mirza formed the SAG organsing committee without taking input from the POA. And there were also a lack of consensus on the finalization of the Games venues.  And according to sources Khalid briefed the minister about each and every detail about the biennial event which Pakistan is going to organise for the third time after having held in 1989 and 2004.

Khalid also told the minister if preparations are not completed and Games are not possible to be held in March 2023 then they also have a viable option of October the same year in which the event could be organised.

Sources said that the minister was very well responsive and willing to work together with the POA which is the sole body to organise such events.

A source in the IPC said that it was a positive meeting of the minister with the POA and the minister told the NOC that every step towards organizing the SAG will be taken with the mutual consensus between the IPC and POA.

Khalid was also flanked by the POA senior official Mohammad Shafiq during the meeting.

It is to be mentioned here that the previous IPC set up under former minister Dr Fehmida wanted to hold these Games in Lahore and Islamabad. POA wanted to hold it in Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Gujranwala after taking a final nod from the former premier Imran Khan keeping in view the importance of these cities relating to sports talent and sports industry.

The venues will be made final after a delegation of the South Asian Olympic Council will inspect it. The POA have already given its input that both the opening and closing ceremonies should be held in Lahore.

However a state source told The News that it all will be finalized keeping in view the security and administrative issues.