Stakeholders discuss Commonwealth Games, Islamic Games preparations

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By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Before giving its final stance about the strength of the athletes and officials the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) will sponsor for the forthcoming international events the Board on Wednesday advised national federations to stick to ‘smart’ squads and field only those athletes in the Commonwealth Games and Islamic Games who have ‘potential’ medal chances.

It has been learnt through insiders that the Director General of PSB Col (retd) Mohammad Asif Zaman told federations during a meeting with them in Islamabad on Wednesday that they should keep their medal prospects in their touring parties for these twin assignments and the Board would fully back those medal hopefuls in every respect.
Sources said that the Board does not want to spend so heavily on athletes who have no prospects of reaching a medal podium in these back-to-back events.
The Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8 while the Islamic Games will be conducted in Konya, Turkey, from August 9-18. This will be followed by the Asian Games for which the Board will hold a separate meeting with the federations.

This correspondent has learnt that it is not likely that the Board would sponsor, especially the team sports with no medal prospects, initially for the Islamic Games. The Board will also analyse the past performances of every discipline in these events before taking the final step. And it is also expected that the Board will be highly selective while deciding which athletes should be backed for these events.
Sources said that in the next two weeks things will become clear. The Board and POA also will meet federations immediately after eid-ul-fitr in which everything will be decided about these two events and its final strength. Sources said that the Board wants to discourage joy-riders. Some federations told the DG PSB, who chaired the meeting, that they want to field their players and teams in such events in order to give them exposure for the South Asian Games which Pakistan will host next year. Sources said that the DG PSB told them that they should set aside SAG and brief him about their status at the Asian level.
As per an official list a 103 players and officials in 14 disciplines, also including two para sports, will feature in the Commonwealth Games while 164 athletes and officials will take part in the 17 disciplines, also including three para sports, in the Islamic Games.
It will be interesting to see how much of the strength will be backed by the state. According to the rules boarding and lodging for the Commonwealth Games is free of cost as it will be offered by the organisers while an athlete will be charged 50 US dollar per day as boarding and lodging fee during the Islamic Games.
Besides federations Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) secretary general Khalid Mehmood also attended this meeting. Some federations officials also attended the meeting virtually. This meeting had been scheduled initially for last Thursday but had been postponed due to certain reasons.
Sources said that the DG PSB also told Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWLF) to work hard for eradicating doping menace from its discipline.
A couple of weightlifters are under WADA’s scanner and it is highly likely that they will be banned for using performance-enhancing drugs.
The PSB has also not yet paid dues of PWLF for the three months camp which the federation has conducted since January until April 13 following approval of the Board for the Commonwealth Games.
This correspondent has learnt that some federations were not happy with their strength for the Commonwealth Games and Islamic Games as they want to give exposure to their maximum athletes.

A source said that the meeting went well. “It was a productive meeting as every representative apprised the state about their sport and its strength. And it made it clear where the issues are and how these should be resolved,” a source said.