Tuesday Jul 27, 2021
KARACHI: The Pakistan Olympic Association has slammed the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for not providing adequate support to the national athletes for Tokyo Olympics.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the POA highlighted the negligence of the PSB ahead of the Olympics and said the Pakistan Olympic Association was not responsible for the development of the sport in the country.
“This is the responsibility of the PSB and they state it also as such in their own rules which are also available on their website,” the POA said as it lashed out at the PSB.
Highlighting PSB’s decision to surrender unutilised Rs440 million ahead of the Olympics, the POA said that this money should have been used for further specialised training of those athletes who had qualified on their own steam.
“Had this been done, Talha and Gulfam may have been on the podium at Tokyo. Had the Pakistan Sports Board lived up to its responsibilities, we would have seen Pakistan on the podium along with Joseph Gulfam and others who are yet to compete in the days to come,” it said.
Inam and Bilal (wrestling) were not supported the way elite athletes should be, it said, adding that 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, it said.
“Had the funds been provided, more athletes including Muhammad Inam and Muhammad Bilal from wrestling could have qualified,” the statement said.
It was the sole discretion of the governmental authorities to decide whether there is any need to create a supporting system for elite athletes or not, it noted.
POA, through IOC, had managed scholarships and financial support for athletes that have benefited all the three qualified shooters, Talha Talib and Bismah Khan who are part of the Pakistan Contingent at Tokyo 2020, said noted.
“The total amount of IOC Financial Support for Athletes is $242,000,” it mentioned.
“POA funded the complete contingent for its travelling and COVID-19 testing for participation in the games although this was always funded by the PSB as per their mandate. Even the dope testing prior to departure was financed by POA especially through the provision of kits as the government did not fund the National Anti-Doping Organisation of Pakistan although it is required to do so as per the requirements of WADA and the UN. The PSB later reimbursed the amount spent by POA for doping to NADO,” the POA said.
The POA said it was unnecessary to bash the organisation for athletes’ poor show in Olympics as it was not responsible.
“POA is the representative of IOC and OCA for Olympic movement in Pakistan and is mandated to foster Olympism through Sports and Education,” the statement mentioned.
“We strongly condemn baseless and misleading information being spread about Pakistan Olympic Association and its office bearers. POA is a non-governmental and nonprofit organisation entrusted to promote Olympic Values in Pakistan," it said.
POA said it 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.