Top sportspersons join hands to light the torch at one of the islands off Karachi harbour as fireworks at the newly-built stadium go off along with hundreds of doves set free as the grip on thousands of green and white balloons is loosened setting them afloat into the air. Welcome to Karachi Olympics-2040!
Being a ridiculously optimistic patriot, although a little unrealistic one maybe, I happen to be one of those who always want to see my country and my city prosper and be among the best economies of the world. I will not give up on this dream.
Just think about it. Wouldn’t it be great if 25 years from now an older version of the younger breed of Pakistani politicians today declare the Olympic Games open? It might be any of the Bhutto-Zardaris, Maryam or Hamza Sharif, someone from PTI, if it is still around then, or any Chief of the Army Staff surrounded by thousands of athletes from all over the world. It can even be Malala Yousafzai for that matter.
If we can’t go to the Olympics, the Olympic Games must come to us!
The torch relay would be run by local greats from boxers, football, hockey, squash, cricket, snooker, tennis, swimmers, cyclists and donkey cart riders.
Karachi by then would be a city of skyscrapers and especially for the Olympics it would have seen much construction for the development of an Olympic city somewhere on reclaimed land from the sea.
Okay snap out of it! … It’s time for a reality check. Regardless of how much we would love to see our beloved country and largest city host the most respected mega sporting event of the world, the truth is that it is not so simple and easy as dreaming about it may be.
Even if we are able to get rid of the demons of terrorism, sectarian issues and corruption there would be another two huge challenges left to be overcome in order to make this a reality — management skills and ample flow of monetary resources.
Before falling into daydream mode again, let’s have a look at the various expenditures to be considered looking at some previous editions of the Olympics as examples.
The last time Pakistan hosted a tournament with huge following and crowds was some two decades ago during the 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup, which somewhat also leaves us deprived of recent experience of handling any mega sports events.
We can, however, continue hoping against hope that someday in the years to follow we might have a winning nomination at the bidding for selecting the hosts for the Olympics. It would also be thrilling to find that Pakistan being the host of Karachi Olympics-2040 led to qualification and participation in most of the sporting events being featured at the Games as there are after all benefits for the hosts. For once, we would not have to experience the scare, stress and depression following the trauma that unfolded last year in Antwerp, Belgium, when our national hockey team failed to even qualify for the Olympics.
Thanks to Karachi Olympics-2040, the green star and crescent banner would be flying in the sea breeze at the starting line of all the sports events. Ah! If only ... there existed a parallel world where all this could actually happen ... Still, we hope against hope … and continue bleeding green!
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, December 13th, 2015