By our correspondent
KARACHI: Having faced huge criticism on media making the POA responsible for the sports mess in the country Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on Tuesday once again made it clear that the NOC is not responsible for the sports development.
The NOC said in a press release that it is the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) which should develop the country’s sports.
“Right at the outset let us make certain aspects very clear. The POA is not responsible for sports development in the country. This is the responsibility of the PSB and the Board states it also as such in its own rules which are available on its website,” the POA said.
“It is our stated position, duly conveyed to the concerned quarters on multiple occasions that the existing facilities and financial support for our sports persons 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 NOC said.
“On May 31, 2021, POA categorically stated its concerns vide a press release about the surrendered Rs440 million and that too in the Olympic year. This money could and should have been utilised for further specialised training of those athletes who had qualified on their own steam. It could have been utilised 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 Joseph may have been on the podium at Tokyo,” POA said.
The POA said that wrestlers Mohammad Inam and Mohammad Bilal 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,” the NOC said.
“The POA president in the meeting of the PSB held in September 2020 requested the minister of 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 and 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 Prime Minister. This unfortunately later proved to be not true,” it said.
“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,” the NOC said.
“POA, through IOC, managed scholarships and financial support for athletes that has benefited all the three qualified shooters, Talha Talib and Bisma Khan who are part of the Pakistan contingent at the Tokyo 2020. The total amount of the IOC Financial Support for Athletes is 242,000 US dollars. 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 its mandate. Even the dope testing prior to departure was financed by the POA specially through the provision of kits as the government has not funded the National Anti-Doping Organization (NADO) of Pakistan although it is required to do so as per the requirements of WADA and the United Nations. Reportedly PSB has reimbursed the amount spent by POA for doping to NADO,” the POA said.
“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 programme however the National Sports Federations shall remain custodian of their Games. POA’s exclusive domain is to monitor observance of the Olympic Charter and WADA Code in Pakistan,” the NOC said.
“We strongly condemn baseless and misleading information being spread about POA and its office-bearers. The 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,” the POA said.
“POA will continue to discharge its obligations as entrusted in the Olympic Charter,” it added.
“Yesterday we witnessed an amazing performance by Talha Talib securing fifth position in the 67kg weightlifting event of 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. Had the PSB lived up to its responsibilities we would have seen Talha on the podium along with Gulfam Joseph and others who are yet to compete in the days to come,” the POA said.
By our correspondent