FOR the primary time in practically a decade, Pakistan had critical hopes of an Olympic medal — its first since 1992 and first ever in athletics — when Arshad Nadeem arrived on the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Saturday for the lads’s javelin last. Arshad, Pakistan’s first-ever track-and-field athlete to qualify for the Video games, had made historical past when he reached the ultimate and was aiming to do higher than weightlifter Talha Talib who narrowly missed out on bronze earlier in Tokyo.
Arshad finally completed fifth, which means Pakistan’s await an Olympic medal will go on until the Video games in Paris in 2024. Arshad’s and Talha’s performances confirmed that Pakistan has improved for the reason that 2016 Rio Olympics. However that can not be put right down to any encouragement from Prime Minister Imran Khan, though as a former sportsman he’s nicely conscious of the intense deficiencies that beset the sports activities sector. Arshad and Talha had raised our hopes purely due to their very own expertise and battle, with slightly assist from their respective federations.
Learn: What the Talha Talib story says about Pakistan’s one-sport obsession
The countdown to Paris begins now. If Arshad and Talha are to enhance on their performances in 2024 and win the Olympic medals Pakistan has been eager for, the work should begin now. It should be understood that the Olympics outline a stage the place those that have been the very best or near the very best come out on high. That solely occurs when there’s a system in place — at each stage. Sports activities have regressed in Pakistan, the Tokyo Olympics marking the second successive Video games for which the nationwide hockey workforce — the winner of eight of the nation’s 10 Olympic medals — hasn’t been in a position to qualify. Even in non-Olympic sports activities like cricket and squash, the place Pakistan as soon as used to dominate, performances have deteriorated. Variations between the federal government, the sports activities federations and the Olympic Affiliation don’t assist and the devolution of sports activities to the provinces in accordance with the 18th Modification has created hurdles of its personal, leaving solely restricted powers to the Pakistan Sports activities Board.
It’s crucial for the prime minister to name a gathering of all stakeholders instantly and devise a approach ahead and work in direction of constructing a sports activities tradition within the nation. It’s about creating an surroundings to facilitate entry to sports activities. Renovation and growth of sports activities services is step one in direction of that, one that may assist grassroots programmes to flourish. Most significantly, colleges should align themselves with the federal government plan and allocate ample time and assets to bodily health and sports activities actions. It needs to be a multi-tiered construction that propels the proficient ones to high schools and universities as much as the nationwide stage the place federations, ideally run by sports activities professionals, will take them to the subsequent stage. A thriving sports activities tradition wouldn’t solely present a broader base of athletes but additionally enhance competitors and illustration, resulting in higher probabilities of successful medals at world occasions.
Revealed in Daybreak, August 10th, 2021