Another Barren Olympic

London Olympic was an overwhelming success. Participating countries have prepared well for the disciplines they intend to participate and some countries even made special kits, which their athletes wore at medial distribution ceremony

Pakistan the 6th most populous country on the globe was also be one of the participants in these games but this participation as expected turn out to be a mere token participation

Pakistan competed in four disciplines hockey, shooting, swimming and running. Except for hockey for which we qualify on the basis of our victory in 2010 Asian games, participation in other disciplines was by the wild cards provided by International Olympic Federation

Our participation proved  a joy ride for the whole contingent. The swimmers, shooters, runners and hockey team all were eliminated in first round

Pakistan first participated in Olympics after independence in 1948.Our best performance was at the 1960 Rome Olympics when our hockey team dethrones India of its Olympics title who at that time has the honor of winning six consecutive Olympic gold medals in field hockey from 1928 to 1956 and became Olympic champions .That was the occasion when Pakistan’s national anthem was firs time played at the Olympic arena. In the same games Pakistan’s wrestler Mohammad Basher also won bronze medal.

Pakistan after a wait of twenty years was able to secure a medal in another discipline except hockey when Hussain Shah won a bronze medal for his country in boxing.

Pakistan’s last Olympic medal was at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the wait for another Olympic medal will continue for some more years may be for another decade.

For the upcoming Olympics, if Aisam Ul Haq succeeded to qualify, we may hope for a medal but sadly due to stubborn attitude of International Athletics Federation & poor planning of Pakistan Olympics association, Pakistan failed to secure a wild card entry for a player of international ranking who failed qualification by a whisker. Pakistan tennis federation & Olympic association failed to secure wild card for a player whose global ranking in doubles is 12 and he was required to be at 10th place on the cut out date to secure direct entry.On the contrary India’s tennis federation able to secured wild card entry for Sania Mirza whose global ranking in doubles at the moment is 22

Countries have to wait a long time for their first medal but once they able to break the medal jinx, they consolidated their medal tally. Indonesia is an example, who first participated in Olympics in 1952 and has to wait for 36 years before securing their first medal in 1988.After wining its initial medal, they strengthen their position and they now have a tally of 25 medals, 15 more than Pakistan who won its first Olympic medal way back in 1956

Problem with Pakistan is that after the initial years of independence, sports associations were over taken by persons who have their personal whims & agendas on which they continue to work without any check & balance from the authorities who appointed them.

Players were not selected on merit but on basis of personal likes & dislikes. An example to this is the selection of swimmer Anum Bandaray in the current contingent who was preferred over national champion Kiran Khan. Anum’s selection nullifies our national games and show clear bias of swimming federation. Similar thing happen at the time of 1972 Munich Olympic when the national champion                     deprived Olympic participation on the basis of lack of fund and a student of Pakistan’s origin studying in Germany was given the honor to represent country.

Nation once was passionate about the performance of hockey team in Olympics. Pakistan continuously won Olympic medal in hockey from 1956 to 1984.After missing the medal in 1988 games, we won bronze in 1992 field hockey tournament. Pakistan failed to win medal in field hockey now for four successive Olympic Games. Since independence, this is the longest period of missing Olympic medal in field hockey.

Current  Pakistan  hockey federation is so inept that they failed to install blue Astroturf on time and team have to rely on pre Olympic tournaments and on European tour to get a feel of blue Astroturf which is to be used at this year’s Olympics.

Since 2008 PHF secretary shows optimism before the start of every tournament and when desired results are not achieved, he promised nation to come up with successful strategy in the next tournament. The promise to attain success is being repeated on numerous occasions but in reality team’s performance baring 2010 Asian games remain highly unsatisfactory.

Just before the start of London Olympics, IOC was unhappy with the affairs of POA and Pakistan’s participation was under threat. Fortunately or Unfortunately Pakistan will now be participating in the upcoming Olympic games although I am of the perspective that this type of token participation is unworthy.

Pakistan’s contingent consists of 40% officials as 39 member contingents comprise of 16 officials.  Pakistan Olympic Association made its members part of Pakistan’s contingent and send them for joy trip on tax payers’ money.

Pakistan is a poor country and we regularly take loans from International donor agencies and other countries to run our country. In this situation, it is better to prioritize country’s spending and made expenditures wisely. It is not an international obligation to participate in Olympics or other international events.

I suggest that government put an embargo of 8 to 12 years on Pakistan’s participation in all global sporting events and utilize this period to prepare our athletes so that when we participate, country will expect to gain laurels. That situation will be much better than the current scenario in which players aim is not to attain victory but to meet world renowned athletes.

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