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More officials than athletes in Pakistan’s Olympics contingent

August 01, 2016

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This file photo shows Pakistani athletes listen to the Olympic anthem during the flag raising ceremony in London on July 25, 2012. — AFP
This file photo shows Pakistani athletes listen to the Olympic anthem during the flag raising ceremony in London on July 25, 2012. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will send its smallest-ever national Olympics contingent to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, comprising more officials than athletes.

A 24-member contingent will represent the country at Rio 2016 scheduled to be held from August 5 to 21.

“Pakistan contingent will include seven athletes and 17 officials,” a Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) official told APP.

It is the first time Pakistan’s national hockey team will not be featuring in the mega event as it failed to qualify.

Most of the other athletes, too, for the quadrennial sports spectacle got entry through wildcard or continental quota system.

Not even a single boxer could qualify for the Olympics although one of Pakistan’s two non-hockey medals came through boxing in 1988 when Hussain Shah won a bronze.

Judoka Shah Hussain, son of Hussain Shah, is the only athlete who sealed a place at coveted multi-sports event under continental quota.

The athletes to chip in the Olympics include swimmers Lianna Swan and Haris Bandey who are based abroad, judoka Shah Hussain, who also lives in Japan, shooters Ghulam Mustafa and Minhal Sohail and two sprinters.

No officials of POA or the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) were available to comment.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) allows national Olympic committees of various countries with few or without any athletes to participate in the coveted sports events by offering wild cards to their athletes.

A player or a team that has not qualified through the normal competitive channel receives a wildcard entry. In Olympics too, wildcards are offered to countries, whose athletes fail to meet the qualification standards.