Outgoing POA chief Gen Arif accorded warm farewell

By our correspondent

LAHORE:  The outgoing Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) chief Lt General (retd) Syed Arif Hassan was on Friday accorded warm farewell for his meritorious services he rendered during his two-decade long services for the country’s sports.

The event was held under the auspices of the POA which was attended by the entire Olympic family from across the country.

Arif Hasan served as POA chief from March 2003 to December 31, 2023.

General Arif Hasan while speaking on the occasion said that whatever they spoke about him he was thankful to all speakers and for their love.

“The way you honoured is great. We spent a lot of time together, there are so many memories and if we sum it up and I would say that it was a team work and I am proud of that,” he said.

“I have tried to work with transparency and whatever has been achieved I will give credit to the entire team,” Arif said.

He also appreciated the hard work of the POA staff, saying he thanks to all of them as they have done great work.

“We always tried to focus on transparency and good governance. POA is one of those NOCs whose accounts details are on the website of the NOC. I thank the entire ExCo and general council for their outright support. I am very happy that we did not lack in women representation and we did that on quality basis,” he said.

“Federations and General Council I thank your personally for everything. Your cooperation was exemplary,” he said.

“Team work is unity of thought and it is very important as it will take your organisation forward. Otherwise your NOC will face a loss,” Arif said.

He also thanked media for support and for  uplifting the Olympic Movement. 

“My innings came to an end and I learnt alot and along the way. I thank everyone sitting here and even those not sitting here. I will always remember and respect each one of you,” Arif concluded.

General Arif was also presented shield as a token of love and souvenirs from various associations.

Earlier In his opening address the acting POA chief Syed Abid Qadri also paid tribute to Arif Hasan.

“I am thankful to General Arif for accepting our invitation,” Qadri said.

“We have a long standing association with him. I thank General Arif once again. He always treat juniors and seniors with love in his entire tenure. He also tackled tough issues and safeguarded Olympic Movement and resolved the complicated issues. Stay blessed General sahib,” Qadri said.

The POA senior vice-president Syed Aqil Shah also paid tribute to General Arif Hasan for his dedicated services for the Olympic Movement.

“It is a privilege that we are here to extend farewell to General sahib. I know him for four decades. Working with him was a pleasure and the way he took each and every member along was exceptional,” said Shah, also a former KP sports minister.

“I have proud feelings for him,” Shah said.

“His biggest achievement is that he saved Olympic Movement,” he said. 

“He was a huge helping hand in providing us equipment and other facilities which were important for sports development,” he saiid.

Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) chairman Chaudhry Mohammad Yaqoob also appreciated General Arif

“He was a man of many characteristics. He was down to earth despite being a former General,” Yaqoob said.

“He was more democratic personality. He used to take everyone and every unit into confidence before taking decisions on important issues,” Yaqoob said.

Yaqoob said that he is civilized and cultured personality and is an embodiment of tolerance. He used to know every statute of the IOC, Yaqoob said.

“Sports development is not the job of POA but it is the job of federations and the relevant state,” said Yaqoob, also a former IG Police.

Shaukat Javed said that General Arif is second to none in Pakistan on sports management.

“Under his leadership South Asian Games were conducted with more discipline in 2014. His services have been acknowledged by the entire world and major sports governing bodies. He also introduced Sports Trust and that was a valuable effort,” Shoukat Javed said.

“You will be available to us for seeking your guidance. My good wishes are with you. Live long,” Shoukat Javed said.

Mohammad Jehangir said that General sahib also used to groom them.

Khalid Mehmood, secretary POA, also thanked General Arif for coming, adding he has been associated with him since 2012.

“I will not say it 12 years but 36,” Khalid said adding he was very hard working.

“Under leadership of General sahib we learnt to stick to merit and principles. He gave us good governance,” Khalid said.

“General sahib was an effective administrator. He is civilized and cultured.

POA vice-president Madam Ishrat, Olympian Khwaja Junaid, Pakistan Badminton Federation (PBF) president Chaudhry Wajid Ali, former hockey Olympian Col (retd) Mudassir Asghar also spoke on the occasion.

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