Supporting sports

As Pakistanis we all love sports. Take a step outside of your house and you will find passionate children playing on the streets who might be future Olympians, athletes or cricketers. Unfortunately, they lack a proper platform where they can showcase their talent and hone their skills.

Almost 29% of the population consists of the youth between ages 15-30. Majority of them aspire to become sportsmen because they grow up idolising their favourite players. There is a need to harness the potential and energy of these vibrant young children and provide them with opportunities to succeed in their choice of sport. They must be supported. While it is the responsibility of the state to provide resources, which will help these youngsters thrive in a competitive environment, it is the job of the parents and coaches to encourage these young adults to follow their dreams. However, it is important for sports officials to understand that dreams need to be backed by proper systems. And because of the lack of a proper athletic system in Pakistan, many dreams are crushed and talented players wasted. Sports associations are in dismal conditions with shortage of facilities, inadequate infrastructure and inexperienced coaches. Moreover, politics and corruption have completely destroyed the sports landscape in Pakistan, especially at the grass-root level.

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The ‘Kamyab Jawan Sports Drive’ announced by the PTI government in Dec 2021 inspires some hope as it plans to develop the sports infrastructure of the country. But the allocation of an insufficient amount of the budget to the sports sector is rather worrisome. The government needs to start with a reformative policy to promote sports, dedicate the expenditure required to a reliable framework, and set clear objectives to support individuals and teams. To construct a unified system, a collaborative network for sports is required along with consultation and help from different stakeholders including experienced players, associations, clubs, sponsors, coaches, experts, etc. Sports can help bring many changes in society and help channel the energy of youngsters in a positive manner.

Maryam Nawaz Kayani

Islamabad

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