It was not the hapless performance of the hockey team against Australia that should ring any alarm bells or the fact that Pakistan's contingent returned empty-handed from London. -Photo by Reuters

Long before mere mortals competed for the highest prize in track and field, it is said that the Greek gods competed in games amongst themselves to impose physical superiority on one another. In the honour of the gods, the tradition was later continued by the flourishing Greek human civilisation who participated in the Ancient Olympic Games apparently for over the next 1200 years (8th Century BC to 4th Century AD).

Whether the great God Zeus actually attended any of the games or his son Herakles won any medals is entwined in myth as much as their very existence. However, what it is forever etched in history books are the Greek civilisation’s cultural, philosophical, architectural and scientific achievements. The thriving economy of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras and Sophocles, to name a few, formed a resplendent social structure with public schools, a peerless army and was light years ahead in science and technology in comparison to other dominions of the time.

It was the 67th Roman Emperor Theodosius-I who made Christianity the official state religion and completely shut down the Olympics, sighting its polytheistic roots.

Soon after, Western Europe, under the flagship of Roman Christians, fell into the Dark Ages which were characterised by a total collapse of economic, cultural and social order. The west was to remain under dark shadows for approximately a thousand years before the Italian Renaissance brought back civility into their society. However, it was the Industrial Revolution (1750 – 1850) that transformed Western Europe as the leading socio-economic power of the world again.

Much like everything else, it revived sporting activity as well. Interestingly, Mr. Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the Founder of Modern Olympic Games, held the “Meetings of the Olympian Class” in the summer of 1850 in England, the birth place of the Industrial Revolution. This was his first strife in the long run-up to form the International Olympics Committee in 1894 which runs the Games to-date.

Did the cycle of socio-economic welfare that followed the Industrial Revolution strongly influence sport or was the timing of the Ancient Olympics and its modern resurgence coincidental?

The 2012 Olympics opening ceremony was an extravagant affair in the ‘Kingdom’, from the Queen’s arrival with James Bond to the showcase of its rich history where once the sun never set. However, it is the “spirit” of the Olympic Games which burnt the torch brighter than ever. 204 countries were represented by over 10,000 participants spread across 302 events within 26 sporting disciplines.

While the desire to win is inherent in sport, the Olympics traditionally were always about more than just a gold medal. It’s been a stage of opportunity, honour and identity and best explained by its founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."

Football and tennis are sports in which winning medals was not given too much importance until recently. While the increasing importance of medals cannot be undermined, here is a look at countries with maximum participation in true Olympic spirit.

Country

Participants

UK

556

US

531

Russia

435

Australia

413

Germany

395

China

370

France

335

Japan

303

Spain

289

Italy

282

Canada

279

Brazil

266

At first glance the most striking fact is its resemblance to the G8 summit which was formed by the so called super powers of the world. All eight countries feature in the top 12 with the highest number of qualified participants.

To further test this hypothesis here is a look at the top economies of the world according to the figures published by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) in 2011.

Countries GDP in Millions ($)

1

 United States

15,094,025

2

 China

7298147

3

 Japan

5,869,471

4

 Germany

3,577,031

5

 France

2,776,324

6

 Brazil

2,492,908

7

 United Kingdom

2,417,570

8

 Italy

2,198,730

9

 Russia

1,850,401

10

 Canada

1,736,869

11

 India

1,676,143

12

 Spain

1,493,513

13

 Australia

1,488,221

Astonishingly, the top 13 economies in the world consist of the top 12 participating countries in the Olympics this year, India being the only exception. These 13 countries which behold 70 per cent of the world economy also monopolise the oldest and most widely participated sporting event in the world, the Summer Olympics.

It is not the populous of a country which determines how many of them are capable or skilled enough to compete in sports as much as the economy they are nourished under. The socio-economic welfare influences how well their talent is cultivated and the results they produce.

Sporting and economic giants like Australia don’t feature in the top 50 most populated countries of the world whereas populated countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nigeria are not in the top 50 most represented countries at the Olympics.

The chart plots the top 50 participating countries at the Olympics in respect with their GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The correlation between nominal GDP and participating countries happens to be a steep one.

The numbers look good but can often be misleading and seldom reveal the entire truth. There are enough nations in this world who raise their hand and be counted way more than their treasury allows them to. Countries like Belarus and Tunisia display the tendency to punch above their weight. The entire Eastern European belt with Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Lithuania fall in the top quarter of the list of countries represented at the Olympics but do not feature in the top half of the economies of the world.

Furthermore countries which have the highest representation in ratio of their population at the Olympics this year are feather weights in the economic world.

Participants per 100,000 people:

1

Cook Islands

40

2

Palau

24

3

Nauru

19

4

Monaco

18

5

Saint Kitts and Nevis

13

6

San Marino

13

7

Bermuda

12

8

Grenada

10

9

Cayman Islands

9

10

British Virgin Islands

8

11

Iceland

8

12

Liechtenstein

8

13

Bahamas

7

14

American Samoa

7

15

Seychelles

7

16

Andorra

7

17

Virgin Islands

6

18

Antigua and Barbuda

6

19

Montenegro

5

20

Micronesia

5

The fact that all these countries are able to compete on the world stage and make their presence felt is evidence enough that even if economics is the engine inside a sports vehicle there are other elements that are its driving force.

Physical attributes and social structures are very important in producing a sporting nation. Some countries are blessed with genetically better athletes. Jamaica and Usain Bolt are perfect examples of this. It is no surprise that almost all previous record holders for a sprint have been from the Afro-American race. They have also dominated other track and field events for obvious reasons. They are naturally gifted athletes.

While the ex Soviet block is just born to play hard, countries like New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have a culture in sync with sports. A large proportion of their populous are athletic. In fact, a lot of sports they play do not feature in the Olympics, thus giving a sense of their under representation.

As the Olympics came to a close all that seemed to matter was the medal count while the spirit of participation and combat seemed to be lost in the voracity of victory and sometimes worse in dissoluteness of the Olympians. Ironically though, it is the fulfilment of a win that drives all great sportsmen, deep inside every athlete knows that the end goal is to come first.

In the words of the legendary late Formula One driver Aryton Senna, “Winning is the most important. Everything is consequence of that.”

In London, most medals were bagged by more or less the same group of countries who had the most participants. It is a numbers game, a little skewed by exceptional performances, and the difference between individual and team sports and thus the respective medal counts.

Pakistan, as expected, finished without a medal again this year. It marked the 20th anniversary of its last medal, won in 1992 at the Games in Barcelona, a modest bronze in hockey. Two years later, Pakistan also became world champions for a record fourth but last time in its glorious history. It was the same period Pakistan won the cricket World cup and ruled the roost in squash for the last time. Pakistan’s socio-economic decline in the last two decades is no secret.

The nation’s most successful Olympics were in Rome in 1960, winning two medals including gold. Incidentally, the 1960s are viewed by many as the golden era in Pakistan’s history when it was looked upon as a fast growing economy with booming industries and PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) firing on all cylinders around the globe.

Great sportsmen are not born over night but are trained over time. Almost all great sportsmen pick up their respective sport and show exceptional talent at a very young age. From early childhood they are nurtured to become the stars of their trade. How well a 10 year old talent is nurtured today is how well he will perform 15 years later at 25.

Last of the great Pakistani sportsmen seen in the 90s were mostly born in the 60s or mid 70s. The two Ws of cricket, the two Khans of squash and the glorious hockey team of the early 90s were all products of the confident Pakistani nation that was giving birth to men who felt it was their right to compete with the world on an even keel.

It was not the hapless performance of the hockey team against Australia that should ring any alarm bells or the fact that Pakistan's contingent returned empty-handed from London.

It was the opening ceremony which gave a feeling of dejection and indisposition.

The 23 Olympians who marched out on the opening day lacked the zest and enthusiasm which on an occasion like this is fuelled by its own frenzy, national pride and most importantly self-belief of achieving glory. Sadly, their smiles had gone missing.

The contingent was led by the only surviving hockey legend of Pakistan, record holding goal-scorer Sohail Abbas. He was previously called out of retirement and recently made captain due to lack of options. Not surprisingly, the biggest factor contributing to the decline of hockey has been the financial decline in the sport.

Abbas was born two years before the military coup that over threw Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s elected government in 1975. General Zia-ul-Haq forcefully took power and by some accounts Pakistan was never the same again.

Zia reinvented Pakistan into a staunch Islamic state parable to the Christian state of Theodosius-I. The effects of religious fanaticism might not immediately be evident but are uncovered over time and in today’s day and age a lot faster than it did a few thousand years ago.

It is normally counterproductive to paint a doomsday scenario but hiding under an umbrella will not scatter the clouds that rain over Pakistan. It is not the current condition of the country that is as worrying as much as the foreseeable future is, scary to think it could get worse.

Neighbouring India has significantly progressed economically and consequently in art, architecture and sports. India was medal-less in 1992 but has progressed, taking its count from three to six medals from 2008 to 2012 making it their best performance to date. Though it is far from achieving its potential given the size of its economy and population they are on the right track and the increase in their medals honour list looks inevitable.

However, Pakistan can take heart from Olympians such as Anum Bandey. One of the two participating Pakistani women who to the casual observe was knocked out in her preliminary heat and came last out of the four competitors in her event.  To the keen observer, though, she rose to the occasion and smashed the national swimming record for 400m, showing great heart and courage. She was undeterred by the enormity of the occasion that could have easily drowned the 15-year-old.

Pakistan is a resolute nation where people are familiar with fighting adversity on a daily basis. The good news is that in today’s dynamic world things can change very fast and if foundations are rebuilt a country can turn around within the space of one generation.  With 175 million people, Pakistan has plenty of potential to once again become a power to reckon with or at least be noticed and respected.

Pakistan has to tackle its socio-economic quandaries first; the Olympic and other sporting woes will most likely heal as a by product.

The age-old argument of nature versus nurture often ends up in the same culmination. One without the other cannot achieve greatness. Talent needs to be nourished but nourishment alone cannot create talent. If a country does well economically, ceteris paribus it is bound to improve its performance in sports.

All that glitters might not be gold but if one is able to gather enough ‘glitter’, it definitely increases the chances of getting some gold.

The writer grew up in a home with sports as its religion and “The Cricketer” subscription of black and white pages as holy script. He resides in Istanbul and can be reached here.

Updated Aug 16, 2012 11:32am

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Comments (55) (Closed)


Kalyan
Aug 16, 2012 04:31pm
The problem in the sub-continent is that parents often pressure their children to do well in academics and studies and not seriously consider sports as a full-time profession. You cannot win olympics by being a weekend athlete. The parents do this because they want to secure the financial future of their children. They also do not have enough awareness for providing balanced nutrition to their budding athlete children. Then at the state and national level comes politics and quotas and selection biases. People are always ready to bring down others than helping others come up. Winning is a social mindset that we all need to develop.
Gagan
Aug 16, 2012 04:03pm
How many Golds highly rich Arab countries won?? Even Afghanistan won a medal. Its will and countries direction not economy drives sports.
Muhammad Musa
Aug 17, 2012 04:10pm
To reach the top of sports is not linked to just one aspect, one may find role of one aspect quite convincing however at the same time you can not ignore "other" factors. Look at Olymipcs of 50s, 60s and 70s. It was USA all over and then Russia at number two. Now look at 80s, 90s & beyond, things have changed. It was Olymipcs of Munich 1972 when girls of Eatern block broke the monopoly of US, it was not due to economy size, population or anything of that sort, it was pure "human effort" and "planned effort". What would you say about 'host" country, host country takes a higher number of medals, in most of the cases. Look at Olympics of Seoul, Koreans beat every super power in Boxing. What I am trying to say is it is package of "individual effort" supported by "respective governments" and of course "sports culture". Exceptions are always there.
Faisal Taquie
Aug 16, 2012 04:36pm
Do you have a better explanation than the author? If so, please provide! Sports are not played on empty stomach nor with the expectation of an empty wallet! If there is solid infrastructure, better sportsmen would be produced but for that one needs capital which needs a solid economy, which needs a robust government system! I second the author that the most important issue is for the country to be able to feed itself, art, culture, sports, etc thrive as a by-product.
Resza
Aug 16, 2012 04:07pm
You wasted time by reading it and then more time commenting on it! Very smart...I think theres is a lot more to it that can be added to the article but the general point is worth thinking about....Afghanistan also won a medal....but to compare Pakistan to every country on the map for your argument's sake will also be a waste of time
indian hindu
Aug 17, 2012 04:18pm
Dawn your Indian edition is long long over due, salute you for your un biased reporting. Come to India open your office here and start publishing for India.
murali
Aug 16, 2012 03:29pm
Great piece. Well researched statistics and wonderful analysis. This is what makes DAWN a class apart or a cut above.
PeopleInGlassHouses
Aug 16, 2012 03:15pm
Or the fact that havily embargoed ISLAMIST Iran won four golds dispute being a international pariah but Canada with over a trillion doller economy won only one gold? Or North Korea end up sitting with four golds in the Olympics medal table? Old rich Qatar with high tech sports facilites got only two bronz?Greece the birthplace of democracy and olympics got only two bronze?Narco-state Columbia won 8 medals including one gold? Communist dictatorship cuba won 5 golds? While world largest democracy and 'emergeing' super power India won no gold. Explain that Mr.Agha if Dawn is brave enough to allow my Post to be published.
Shujaat Ayub Khan
Aug 16, 2012 03:10pm
EXCUSES EXCUSES EXCUSES.
Akram
Aug 16, 2012 03:08pm
great article, though I disagree with the authors final remarks about Pakistani decline. Pakistan's best days are ahead, the IMF and World Bank predict Pakistan's economy to enter the G20 in about 30 years. we should each ensure we try to make our economy grow by starting a business.
akbar bajwa
Aug 16, 2012 02:50pm
food for thought, kudos to the writer
mercury
Aug 16, 2012 02:38pm
In the same league, if not better, and if not yet, then in the not so distant future
Snu
Aug 16, 2012 02:29pm
I was reading another article in dawn and the writer was comparing with population of the country and this guy is comparing with economy. Tomorrow someone will start comparing with Corruption, foreign reserves, extremism ..... ahhh, what an excuse of not getting a single medal.
Hasan Awan
Aug 16, 2012 12:07pm
A good comparison indeed and a good effort altogether but our nation's favorite sports now a days is to watch Talk shows from 8 to 11 and also then to send mass SMS on the word of mouth and also lying , cheating and talking behind the back is taken as sports in Pakistan and sadly there are no such event in Olympics which can showcase talents of Pakistan so even our economy will be better we will still be lagging in every manner.
Qamer
Aug 16, 2012 12:07pm
It means Cuba and North Korea are better economies compare to Pakistan, I think to read this article is a waste of time.
Arshad
Aug 16, 2012 03:47pm
Jamaica is a poor country and won so many gold.
Syed
Aug 16, 2012 11:54am
This is one of the best articles I have ever read at dawn. Well analysed!! Sadly, the Pak military consumes most of the economic & financial assets. Then there are the inhouse thiefs and thugs. So hardly any percentage is left for sports, education and development. And Anum Bandey is the girl/woman who made us proud by "just" taking part at these olympics. We love her and she should not indulge herself into politics to remain superior at least on national level! The Zia era has damaged us severly and we are paying the price for It now!
BS Pani
Aug 16, 2012 12:15pm
Yes- we were missing the great wrestlers and boxers from Pakistan! Compared to Indians- Pakistani in general and Pathans in particular are built better to challenge the western sportsmen. Why not harness the traditional skill of archery, Kusti, horsemanship, weight lifting and other power sports. India is doing just that. 81 of its athletes, archers, shooters, Badminton, TT, swimming, wrestlers, shot put and discuss throwers, rowers have figured among top ten and top twenty in this Olympics. The sports minister has already set a target of 20 for Rio. But 12 should not be an unreasonable target. I am sure- Pakistan can do better with a well targeted approach. But to be another China and Korea - we would have to wait much longer and work lot more harder!
siva
Aug 17, 2012 03:07pm
well said.
MG
Aug 16, 2012 03:21pm
Excellent, excellent article. There is a lot of good thought-fodder here. There are volumes of historical data that show the healthy influence secularism and strong economies have on the very essence of society. I am forever confidant that it is a matter of time that Pakistan re-emerges as an ideology on the world stage - at what cost is an entirely different matter. It is indeed a shame that we as a nation could not get behind our Olympic athletes who have accomplished wonders at the national level. It is also a shame that we did not think it was important enough to support more athletes in more events. We have yet to find deficiency of talent in Pakistan; opportunity and support are, again, an entirely different matter. Maybe by the Rio Games, we will have found our political and social footing and can look to the future of Pakistani Olympic athletes. For now, an excellent article that has provided a good forum for discussion - Kudos to Mr. Agaha.
farhan rasheed
Aug 16, 2012 03:51pm
Not sure about the entire analysis, nonetheless a great article. I was hoping for many days that someone would write something about the pathetic performance of pakistan at the olympics. I was just wondering why no wrote or said something, why did no one questioned the sport ministry (whoever they are) or some other politicans, even the great imran khan was quiet. There must be something done at the top level or else this pathetic performance will continue. I suggest that since pakistan calls its friendship with China deeper than the oceans and higher than the skies, perhaps we should ask them for some help and see how they do it. China participated first time in olympics back in 1984 and even then won medals, they were a much poorer country back then. As a correction don't take the absolute GDP number as a measure of wealth of a nation, the true indication is per capita income (thats reflects how much money each person makes on an average in the country)
Imran
Aug 16, 2012 01:07pm
Wonderful article. I wish Pakistanis wake up and start realizing no one from outside will come to help them.
aziz
Aug 16, 2012 01:03pm
Please explain why Pakistan never won much before Zia?
True Indian
Aug 16, 2012 01:21pm
Excellent article.
saythetruth
Aug 16, 2012 01:30pm
Good economy means more gold medals. Exception some poor countries have designed programs where there athletes work extremely hard to get themselves out of poverty. South American/Africa produces tons of soccer players and marathon runners but it more individual effort to get out of poverty.
Amol Choudhary
Aug 17, 2012 12:24pm
Thank God we did not see any comment that India is responsible for Pakistan's poor show at the Olympics :)
Resza
Aug 16, 2012 05:19pm
Take a look at this it will give you a fair idea http://dawn.com/2012/07/25/pakistani-hockey-players-best-not-to-break-a-leg/ Pakistan hockey players do not have medical insurance coverage! Wow...this is shocking....Generalising Columbia as a narco-state is very ignorant of you....Btw Greece is suffering the worst crisis in its history..so it somewhat reinforces the point of the article...Iran supplies the world its oil...still does :) Please don't get too emotional
Asad Abbas
Aug 17, 2012 12:00pm
Excellent article Mr. Agha you show the real relationship of Economy , Politics & Games.. Nicely proved by the economic data
PARVEEZ
Aug 16, 2012 05:26pm
You said it, not more to. Yes it was good to see pakistani take part in swimming, a good sign. General Zia-ul-Haq well he is I think the main man that took Pakistan down hill, and we have not stoped. When we came to the bottom of the hill. We find now with current so called leaders, they have taken us down the gutter. Now that we are sitting at the bottom of the gutter, there is no where down to go, although, this government is trying hard to dig a deeper gutter. GOD HELP US. BUT GOD SAYS THAT HE HELPS WHO HELPS THEMSELF.
anil
Aug 16, 2012 06:09pm
@Shan Agha I don't find your article much appealing . Some questions arise in my mind . Like Why Saudi Arabia couldn't impress us in Olympics ? Why Qatar couldn't win many medals ? Why not Brunei and UAE ?Again Why poor countries like North Korea and so many African countries like Nigeria won many medals ? Answer is : Sports culture . Middle east countries like Saudi , UAE and others has no sports culture .Countries like North Korea have sports culture and they are hard working unlike middle east countries .
tauqeer
Aug 16, 2012 06:44pm
a very well written and structured article! thank you for writting such an amazing piece : )
khawaja javaid
Aug 16, 2012 07:09pm
Good economy.more gold medals?????????? look, jamaica, kenya,Cuba, Iran,North Korea.,Kazakistan........ will give the answer
A. gowher
Aug 16, 2012 07:19pm
Olympics was a shame and embarassment for Pakistan. Pakistan a nation of 18 crore people could not win even one medal, India won 6 medals, iran won 12 and even Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan won medals but Pakistan was not on the list at all. Being a poor country is an excuse, several countries who are lot more poorer than Pakistan won medals. I think favortism, nepotism and politics has destroyed our sports. Lack of confidence and hard work in our young generation is also a big reason for our failure in world level sports. It appears we are NIL in sports, In hockey we had a miserable defeat and Cricket is limited only to countries who were previously British colonies. Cricket is not even considered a sport by olympic committee and most of the world.
@praveen1singh
Aug 16, 2012 07:21pm
You are probably generalizing !! What you just mentioned is Indian parent's mindset..I am sure its different in Pakistan or B'desh!
Avtar
Aug 16, 2012 07:26pm
I believe it is the cultural emphasis that results in sports excellence. Kenya, Jamaica among others are impoverished nations and most of its citizens, like that of the sub continent, seek economic opportunities abroad. India has spent a lot of money in social, education, and economic areas as a percentage of their budget. Pakistan has remained focused on defence. Therefore Pakistan has fallen far behind in education, social, economic and other areas. Even in defence, with OBL fiasco, Pakistan has not much to show for. The case of
Gaurav
Aug 16, 2012 07:28pm
Afghanistan which has a battered economy can boast of a medal won....Where is Pakistan...Wake up and stop blaming the economy.
pakistanisports
Aug 16, 2012 11:00pm
Well, the effort put by the author has to be appreciated. There is no doubt that economy of country does play apart in sports as well. But we do have other factors. For example If you look at Saudi Arabia, they mainly play football. It is like India which is predominantly a cricket playing country. On the other hand, look at Iran. They play Individual games, I mean games like Karate {where Nasrin Dousti, Iran female karatedo won asian championship recently}, taekowondo, wrestling, weightlifting etc. And you can see that they won more medals than India. The smaller economies which other readers mentioned, they also win medals in individual events. So the type of game prevalent in your country, counts a lot. Building a Team is difficult, but You can always get excellent individuals. I remember the time when we just had two good squash players, Jahangir and Jan Sher, and we were the champions. If Pakistan had to win medals, they have to target games which can win them medals, not that You start spending on team games like football, rather individual games like boxing, wrestling, shooting, etc And I believe we can win medals with passage of time
ahmedjan
Aug 16, 2012 11:18pm
A strong economy does produce strong men and women who are worthy enough to represent at the world’s highest level. However, this analysis is only true for the countries that are at the top of medal table. Pakistan at this time cannot in anyway climb at that stature but can learn from them. Great Britain has a success story. They realised that they lost their sports glory in 2004 Athens where they could get only 9 Gold (total 31). This was a wakeup call, drastic planning and funding were devised, and in 2008 Beijing 19 Gold (total 47) were won. Continuing their effort this year in 2012 London 29 Gold (total 65) obtained with a proud third overall position after China. We can learn something from GB sports model success. Apart from strong economy, there were countries from third world like Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya who won medals. Can’t we find a talent from a population of 18 crore and groom for next coming years. The question is who would hunt and in what sport. In my opinion, the departments and organisations who used to nurture and nourish sports all have collapsed. At present, it’s only our armed forces, which can take this role. Considering the army’s recruitment centres which are spread all over the country. Thousands of young teenagers come to be selected as sepoys. Can’t there be a system where a raw sports talent is identified and groomed. This is the best breeding and identifying place for selection of athletes and sportsmen. Regarding sports, we have to identify an event, which could be productive to us. Realistically, it is impossible for Pakistan to find a 100 mtrs sprinter to compete Usain Bolt of Jamaica. However, there are other events like long distance running. We can look for such men or women from the northern regions or rural areas where due to the climate such people could be found. In Pakistan mainly from Punjab, we have wrestlers who wrestle in our Indo-Pak style. The wrestling style needs change to Roman-Greco style, which is accepted by Olympics committee. Further, in Pakistan’s every corner mainly in rural areas people play shooting ball, which is like volleyball. The rules could be taught to them so players are produced as per international rules. Cycling is a very popular in a particular community of Karachi who are often seen racing on roads on their modified mudguard-less Sohrab. A racing Velodrome for track racing can be built for them. We have to regenerate our Boxing talent from the slums of Layari and the Hazara community of Quetta who had brought glory in the past. Pakistan Army has thoroughbred horses. Why can’t they produce an international level rider? Why can we not produce 10 meters Airgun marksman where almost every kid has and shot from an air-gun but is not aware of international rules. There is a very long never ending list with ideas but the problem is who would do it. Maybe we are not sports loving nation. Our country is hungry for champions, which we don’t have in any field including sports. Who will sort things for us and that is a million dollars question. The war on terror is also taking its toll on us, we need to get out of it for good.
MG
Aug 16, 2012 11:53pm
Hear, hear.
Salman Baloch
Aug 17, 2012 01:45am
do you know the meaning of ceteris paribus ?
Salman Baloch
Aug 17, 2012 01:49am
doesn't seem you read the article or maybe did not understand it... "even if economics is the engine inside a sports vehicle there are other elements that are its driving force"
Salman Baloch
Aug 17, 2012 01:59am
Great writing and an excellent analysis. Give good food for thought... since cricket is still by far the most popular sport in Pakistan and it might be included in the Olympics in the form of t20 eventually there is a chance of Pakistan breaking the medal dead lock. Also with the world becoming a much smaller place there can be import/export of financial viability in sports. Leagues like the BPL, IPL and Big Bash will mean more options for cricket talent in Pakistan to have incentives. Just like the footballers of South America, each one of them dreams to play in Europe and make their big bucks. Like Mr Agha says "Pakistan is a resolute nation where people are familiar with fighting adversity on a daily basis." ... God Bless Pakistan....
Ayush
Aug 17, 2012 02:09am
Good one
ghassankhan
Aug 17, 2012 02:14am
That's a new perspective for me. I love these kind of 'innovative articles'. Thank you for broadning my horizon. I'm thinking of writing a smiliar piece prone towards the potential of Pakistan as a global tourist destination. But the sad thing is that people like us plan and jot down ideas, but the people in power don't respect our efforts.
PeopleInGlassHouses
Aug 17, 2012 03:28am
Stalinist and international pariah North-Korea won 4 golds,guess their health care is better then Pakistanis. In March 2012 UN International Narcotics Control Board states that Columbia remained the world's biggest producer of cocaine, those ignorant UN people. Iran supplies oil,so does Kuwait,Saudi Arabi,Bahrain,Qatar all of who except Iran have embargo-free 10-15 bigger economies with hi tech facilitates,yet non of them won any gold but Iran won 4. The following countries have 1/10 or less GDP lower then Greece yet won more gold then it:Uganda,Grenada,Trinidad and Tobago,Dominican Republic etc etc etc. Explain that if Dawn is brave enough to allow my Post to be published.
Doorie
Aug 17, 2012 04:51am
Author here trying to say the Good Economy is the Key to success not that Good Economy is the only way to success......so no point criticizing by giving examples of kenya afghanistan etc...
ahmad butt
Aug 17, 2012 05:28am
As every other problem plaguing the nation, this is another sad issue that has not been addressed. An Olympic board need to be a functioning one, where athletes are chosen for their ability on merit and at a very young age, and then the performance is benchmark to the Olympic and world records. No rocket science, resources are needed, even if India devotes it resources like China does, then it can win more medals. Some of the athletes are built for the game, but then it doesnt last long. Who can forget the agonising grunts of Chris Ditmaar , Rodney Eyles and the lot etc, for they were clearly choked by King Jahangir and Jansher Khan, but then a time came where squash federations around the world nurtured their talent from scratch and the result is evident, Pakistan is nowhere near the top ranks of squash. Same with other games, it wont be long when countries like China might excel in cricket. As for Pakistan, the sad reality is having so many issues to deal, olympic glory has to be put on backburner.
Razi
Aug 17, 2012 06:12am
merit merit and only merit can win medals and world cups.
Proud Indian
Aug 17, 2012 06:13am
In my knowledge, this is the best analysis of sports performance, very logical and supported by facts. Congratulations to the author and to The Dawn for this beautiful article. Prbably, the coverage can be broadened a bit further and it can be said that the social development of a country is linked to its economic health. The linkage is very well proved. India, in any case is a distorted economy. As is said, only 66 persons control more than 70% of the national resources. This type of economy should not be counted for comparison at all.
Anand
Aug 17, 2012 06:49am
This article has been prepared by countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to explain away their non-performances. This article does not explain why poor countries like Kenya, Ethiopia etc which are not great economic powers win more gold medals than Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Malaysia , Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden etc
Jawwad
Aug 17, 2012 05:34pm
I grew up in Aitchison. There were number of athletes who played and competed at a very higher level be it Swimming, Track or another sport. In order to be able to compete at a higher level you ought to be provided sporting facilities at a young age which unfortunately normal citizen of our country do not have access to. On a second note, folks who can afford these tend to not play sports as professionals and usually end us in West or running family businesses. On third level, funds allocated for different sports are usually absorbed, authorities do not point out potentials, they usually promote ones they like (Nepotism of course is embedded in our DNA). If we Pakistan are to excel in sports, we need to invest and provide free facilities to our ordinary citizen and not the only the elite. I doubt anything will happen unless the elite wakes up and do it for them. In a nutshell, sporting achievements are basically the reflection of a society. We are what we are. Bottom of food chain.
Syed M. Mustafa
Aug 17, 2012 07:10pm
if pakistan want some thing in hockey then they should bring tall and strong players who can match the others. this is the only way to match thier opponents.
manoj
Aug 17, 2012 07:57pm
nice
Alex
Aug 18, 2012 05:48am
US Olympic team gets $0 in funding from the US government. On the other hand China spends up to $1.5 million per athlete.
Syed
Aug 20, 2012 12:36pm
Well said, however don't forget that money can also make some wishes and dreams come true!