National Games will aid preparations for Asian Games

Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8

May 11, 2023
Arshad Nadeem in action — PSB

LAHORE: The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) Secretary General Khalid Mehmood has said that the country will get the fittest players in the 34th National Games in all disciplines and the leading seeds will then go to camps for the Asian Games which will help prepare the nation for the continent's biggest event.

“Yes, through the National Games we will get the fittest players. They will be the fittest among the available lot,” Khalid told ‘The News’ in an interview.

“The calendar of the federations is usually already defined and in order. They try to hold their National Championships two to three months before the National Games. And then departments and others hold their camps for the National Games.

“If we consider boxing, which we personally deal with, so we conducted National Championship in March and in May National Games are being held. So our boys have been in top training and will remain so until the National Games. And here those players who produce results will be selected for the Asian Games. You will have the best lot and you will have the best opportunity to train them for four months for the Asian Games.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8. Khalid said that the entry by name will be made final for the Asian Games in July.

“The by-name list will be finalised in July,” he said. “Let’s suppose, in individual sports, for example boxing, if Pakistan government says that our three boxers will go for the Asian Games so there should be a camp of nine to ten boxers in the same weight categories which will help a federation to train them vigorously and finalise athletes after holding the trials.”

Asked in how many sports disciplines Pakistan will be featuring in the Asian Games, Khalid said it all depends on the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).

“The PSB has proposed a 150-member contingent. We, the POA, and the federations, will sit with the Board and it will be seen how much federations will justify themselves and then we will look how we should proceed further,” Khalid said.

“I planned to go to Islamabad but the standing committee’s meeting got postponed and now in the next week or so when I go to the federal capital I will meet the Board, and the federations’ meeting with the Board will also be managed in the first week of June,” he added.

He said that armed forces have prepared extremely well for the National Games.

“All armed forces and Higher Education Commission (HEC) have prepared well but WAPDA and Railways have not prepared as they did for the 2019 National Games in Peshawar,” Khalid said. “The preparation of the provinces is not good because they hardly get ten to 15 days of camps.”

Alam Zeb Safi is a senior reporter for The News