Pakistan PM to take stock of country's Olympic debacle

Pakistan PM Imran Khan to take stock of country's Olympic debacle

Javelin thrower, Arshad Nadeem and weightlifter, Talha Talib however put up an impressive show

Government insiders say that the PM had taken a renewed interest in the state of affairs in sports. Credit: Reuters Photo

Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned a meeting with Sports minister Dr Fehmida Mirza to take a stock of country's Olympic debacle were 10 athletes finished a medal-less campaign.

Javelin thrower, Arshad Nadeem and weightlifter, Talha Talib however put up an impressive show with top five finishes in their respective disciplines.

"The PM will now pay attention to the sports structure in the country in the remaining two years of the government as he wants the youth to excel in other sports as well as in cricket and present a soft image of the country," Federal Minister Asad Umar told ARY news.

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Government insiders say that the PM had taken a renewed interest in the state of affairs in sports after neighbours India produced its best performance with seven medals including a gold by javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra.

Asad said it was true that in the three years of governance, the PM and cabinet had not been able to pay that much attention to sports because of the manifold issues confronting the country.

"But now even the PM wants things to improve and there is a plan to build a modern day sports institute in the country," he said.

Mirza appearing on another channel blamed the NOC (National Olympic Committee) for the sad state of affairs in sports in Pakistan.

But when asked why the Pakistan Sports Board the state owned institution which governs sports in the country had returned nearly 440 million rupees to the government in the fiscal year without utilizing them for sports and athletes, she had no convincing reply.

She maintained that the sports ministry wanted all national federations and the olympic committee to agree to a uniform sports policy and be accountable for their actions.

"We have asked all national federations to give a proper action plan for their sports only after which they will get grants and funds for training their athletes and sending them abroad or holding events."

The minister said that the government gives 1000 million rupees annually to the PSB out of which 40 percent is spent on salaries and non-development expenses while the rest is to be spent on athletes and infrastructure.

Arshad and Talha are both home trained athletes in their make-shift facilities to prepare for the Olympic with no proper coaches being made available to them.