Pakistan’s contingent consists of 256 players including 216 men and 40 women are participating in the Asian Games 2018. Male players are participating in 35 events of various disciplines and women in 15 events in this Gala.
While Pakistan secured their third medal at the Asian Games when Arshad Nadeem clinched bronze in javelin throw event, however, most of country’s athletes of other disciplines continued to fare poorly at the continental gala. The 19-year old Nargis from Hazara secured the first medal for the country when she claimed bronze overcoming Nepal’s Rita Karki in 68+ kg category. Pakistan’s men managed to secure bronze medal, the country’s first at the Asian gala, when they lost 27-24 to South Korea in the kabaddi semi-final.
We also have good news from the Gala 2018; where Pakistan recorded their fifth successive victory in hockey, beating Bangladesh 5-0. It maintained their perfect record winning all the five pool matches with big margins. Pakistan thrashed 12th ranked Malaysia 4-1 in Jakarta. Earlier, Pakistan won all their first three matches with big margins: 10-0 against Thailand, 10-0 against Oman and 16-0 against Kazakhstan.
But as a whole Pakistan’s struggles continued, a form of wrestling indigenous to central Asia; with Shehroze Mohammad Razi (men’s -66kg), Syed Samiullah (men’s -66kg) and Zunair bin Zahir (men’s +90kg) all losing their last-32 bouts. Mohammad Yahya, Eibad Sarwar Hussain also lost both their men’s preliminary round soft tennis matches. In the women’s singles event, Syeda Eraj Batool suffered similar fate as her male compatriots while Varisha Khan fared even worse as she lost all her three matches.
Over the years, it is observed that many people either parachuting their way to the top of the pyramid in a certain federation or board, slowly but surely, without having an iota of qualification required for that particular position. Nepotism, voiding merits are the common practices in the federation causing such poor performance as whole in the Asian Games 2018. Such practice has, over time, made sure that there is minimal professionalism in the world of Pakistan sports. But we can’t ignore that it is also about passion. No matter how well you train your athletes, if they don’t have fire in their belly they won’t go much far.
Unless Pakistan invests at grassroots level, sports will never flourish in Pakistan.