POA hits out at PSB over lack of support for national athletes competing in Olympics

Faizan Lakhani
 POA highlighted negligence of Pakistan Sports Board ahead of the Olympics

Karachi: The Pakistan Olympic Association has hit out against the Pakistan Sports Board for not providing adequate support to the national athletes for Tokyo Olympics.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the POA highlighted negligence of Pakistan Sports Board ahead of the Olympics and said that the Pakistan Olympic Association was not responsible for the sports development in the country.

“This is the responsibility of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and they state it also as such in their own Rules which are also available on their website,” the POA said while hitting out at PSB.

Highlighting PSB’s decision to surrender un-utilized 440m ahead of Olympics, the POA said that this

his money could and should have been utilized for further specialized 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 alongwith 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. 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.

“Had the funds been provided to athletes, more athletes including Muhammad Inam and Muhammad Bilal from Wrestling could have qualified,” the statement said while adding that 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.

POA, the statement highlighted, through IOC managed scholarships and financial support for athletes that has benefited all the three qualified Shooters, Talha Talib and Bismah Khan who are part of the Pakistan Contingent at Tokyo 2020.

“The total amount of IOC Financial Support for Athletes is US $ 242,000/-,” it mentioned.

“POA funded the complete contingent for its travelling and Covid19 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 specially through the provision of kits as the government did not fund the National Anti-Doping Organization 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 Pakistan Olympic Association said that it was unnecessary to bash the organization for athletes’ poor show in Olympics as it was not responsibility.

“POA is the representative of IOC & 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 organization 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,” it said.

POA hits out at PSB over lack of support for national athletes competing in