In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court has upheld the Pakistan Sports Board's Sports Policy limiting the number of tenures of office bearers in National Federations. Henceforth, all office bearers who are serving their third term or more will be ineligible for that position. They can move up to the next higher position for another two terms.
This judgment is likely to cause consternation among sport administrators who have been hanging on to their posts for decades. Having had some experience in the sports administration field, this scribe feels that this judgment could have a lot of positive things to say for itself.
As it is, our sports are at the extremely low ebb, yet we will never find an administrator who will have agreed that they have underperformed in the development of their sport. But then that is the case with the nation as a whole so why should sport be any different?
Certainly, in tennis, it is a godsend. There are people in the PTF, who have been manipulating the sport for their own vested interests. As a direct result, the sport has almost died down. No new players are coming up and those that do come up are victimized just to maintain these people's hold on the sport.
Kaleem Imam's victory in the last elections had removed much of the flotsam, but unfortunately, some remnants remained and they quickly started doing what they do best, a potent mix of ingratiation, sycophancy and victimization. To the extent, a lot of tennis observers feel that things were back to square one.
This, however, is a unique opportunity for Kaleem Imam to get rid of the one man who, more than anyone else, created the missing years of the past decade of Pakistan tennis, a setback that is going to take another decade to overcome. Thankfully, this malignancy has been automatically removed by the court judgment and Pakistan tennis can start to get back on its feet again. This is also a severe blow to the previous incumbents, Dilawar Abbas and Rashid Khan, who were reported to be plotting a return.
On Madrid’s Clay
The clay court season has moved to Madrid for the Spanish Masters event. For the first time, rather than the players, it is the court surface that is making the headlines. The blue clay has been a source of resentment for the top players who say that they should have been consulted before such a drastic change was imposed on them. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were the two leading players who criticized the surface, claiming that it was too slippery and that it was difficult to change directions. Certainly, it was evident that the players were having trouble moving on the court. Nadal lost for the first time to compatriot Fernando Verdasco and pawed the ground in frustration at his inability to move.
The blue clay is made by taking normal red clay and removing the iron oxide thus giving it a white colour. The clay is then dyed blue and baked in a furnace. Beneath the clay is a rubber type mat. The organizers say the clay is essentially the same material, but somewhere, somehow they have got it wrong. The clay seems to clump together, leaving bare patches and has constantly to be brushed back into place. There were a slew of unforced errors from clay court masters like Nadal, errors that they would never make on the red clay. Perhaps the ATP could have tested the surface in some Challenger events and gotten the views of the players before making such a drastic change. A needless controversy has been added to the already testy relationship between the players and the ATP.
Fernando Verdasco though would not be complaining as he beat his friend Nadal for the first time ever.
Aisam on a high
Aisam Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer saved four match points in upsetting top seeds, the Bryan brothers, in the second round. This is a morale boosting performance for the team that has been underperforming for quite some time. Waiting for Aisam and partner in the quarter finals is the Indian duo of Bhupathi and Bopanna. Bopanna, a long time partner of Aisam till their split last year, has the experienced Bhupathi at his side and are seeded seventh. Aisam and Rojer are just coming off their best performance in several months. This makes for a mouthwatering clash where both teams have something to prove.
The IPL Blizzard
In cricket, the IPL is in full swing with a blizzard of sixes and fours emanating from the bats of players like Gayle, Sehwag and Rahane, the latter being the find of this year’s event. But perhaps the most impressive performances have come from AB de Villiers, who has performed some magical feats of improvisation under pressure. He may be one of the most complete cricketers in the game today, a capable wicketkeeper, a brilliant fieldsman and a breathtaking batsman. But please don’t ask who he plays for and that, perhaps, may be the Achilles heel for this league.
For the casual observer, the teams have not yet developed an identity or personality that can be called their own. It is all a frenzy of slam, bam and rake in the dough. These leagues are money spinners for everyone and are a win-win situation, so it is no wonder that everyone wants to get on the bandwagon.