ISLAMABAD: As the chorus surrounding Pakistan’s dismal performance at the 2012 London Olympics slowly blurs out of the minds of the public and sports officials alike, lawyer Zafar Ullah Khan has taken it upon himself to keep the issue alive and ensure the concerned authorities are held accountable.
Seeking a much-needed review and overhaul of the sports system in the country, Khan knocked upon the doors of the Supreme Court with a petition that says, “Nepotism, favoritism, corruption — this has destroyed our participation in the games.”
Pakistan, the sixth most populous nation in the world with 180 million people, was the largest nation to walk away empty-handed from the Games this year. Pakistan’s sole medal hope at the Olympics, its hockey team, returned with a seventh place finish, while its lone shooter, two sprinters and swimmers were knocked out in the preliminaries. Pakistan has won 10 Olympic medals to date — eight of them in hockey.
Their last medal came at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Khan called the lack of medals “shameful” and termed it a “national crisis” for which a judicial inquiry was needed.
“It was absolute failure,” Khan said.
“If there was any medal for corruption and begging in the Olympics [Pakistan] could have won all three places,” he added while echoing the words of several columnists who blamed nepotism and economic and social decline for the country’s standing.
A Pakistan Olympics Association official has said that the group was unaware of the suit and could not comment on the concerns raised.