Pakistan’s dismal showing at Tokyo Olympics: Who to blame?
Sports’ downfall in Pakistan is not a new story. There were days when the country was not only a dominant force in the region but produced some of the world’s best in different sports from hockey to cricket and squash.
But that glorious history does not resonate with the current situation where things are going from bad to worse continuously.
Pakistan are now on the verge of another medal-less campaign at the Tokyo Olympics which would extend their medal drought to nearly 30 years in the mega-event.
Ever since it is becoming increasingly clear that the country will not be able to secure any notable triumph in the ongoing games, fans along with some former athletes have criticised the authorities about the dismal state of affairs in the sports industry on social media platforms, particularly on Twitter.
Some pointed out fingers at the fact that the head of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has not been changed for the last 17 years whereas some pointed out that the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) was run on an ad hoc basis for two years leading to the games.
Bol News investigated and for its readers bringing details about where the responsibility lies.
Who is responsible:
The answer is Pakistan Sports Board (PSB). There is an organisation with the name of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) but it is PSB who are calling the shots.
Why is PSB responsible?
There are 44 federations working under the umbrella of PSB including the likes of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and Pakistan Swimming Federation.
It is the PSB that receive funds from the government through the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination and then they further distribute it to different organisations who are affiliated with them.
It is also PSB’s responsibility to make sure that athletes get the best possible facilities to train, conducting talent hunt programs and figuring out ways to send athletes abroad to take part in different competitions in order to prepare for the mega-event.
Any recent blunder from PSB?
The sports governing body returned funds of more than 400 million to the federal government just months before the Tokyo Olympics.
The decision was a surprising one as a number of athletes including the likes of wrestler Inam Butt, Saadi Abbas and Usman Khan couldn’t participate in the mega-event because they were not given the funds required to take part in competitions as a part of preparation.
What is the role of POA?
As per POA’s official website, their stated mission is: To develop, promote and protect the Olympic Movement in Pakistan, in accordance with the Olympic Charter by spreading the POA’s vision through deliverable means.
Going through their website in detail, one can find that the organisation’s core objectives are the creation of institutions dedicated to Olympic education, an Olympic Museums, to promote high-performance sport and to arrange and encourage systematic training of sportsmen, coaches and sports administrators in Pakistan and assist them for training abroad.
However, it is not clear whether the POA fulfils any of its stated objectives on its website.
It is believed that the POA receives roughly $45,000 to run the organisation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Reaction on Twitter:
Here are some of the reactions of disappointed fans with the Pakistan contingent performance in the Tokyo Olympics.
When India's Sardar Singh retired in 2018, he was one of the highest paid players in Hockey India League and also was deputy superintendent in Haryana Police while Pakistan's Shakeel Abbasi who scored 200 goals, played three Olympics was jobless after his retirement in 2016. pic.twitter.com/QZ4WGedG4D
— Fidato (@tequieremos) July 25, 2021
There can’t be any bigger embarrassment for Pakistan sports than to see 2nd consecutive Summer Olympics without Pakistani Hockey team. Hockey is our national sport and we failed to qualify for Olympics for second consecutive time & hardly anyone seems bothered about it.
— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) July 22, 2021
Sad state of sports in Pakistan ..No Olympic medal for so many years.. pic.twitter.com/3SAj147ZIC
— Waseem Abbasi (@Wabbasi007) July 25, 2021
Just before the Olympics, the Pakistan Sports Board had surrendered 440m un-utilised back to government, while Talha was training at makeshift gym in courtyard of a school in Gujranwala. Can you imagine a sports body not spending money on athletes in Olympic year. https://t.co/7sggmas0iO
— Faizan Lakhani (@faizanlakhani) July 25, 2021
Olympic medals for the most populous countries in the world in the 21st century
— Hassan Cheema (@mediagag) July 20, 2019
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