LAHORE: Pakistan will have a heavy contingent of 245 during the Aug 18-Sept 2 Asian Games in Indonesia, the POA president retired Lt Gen Arif Hasan confirmed on Tuesday.

Talking to reporters after chairing the executive committee meeting of the Pakistan Olympic Association at a local hotel, Arif said that while a section of the media mentioned that the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) had trimmed the contingent to 140.

The POA chief said he was in contact with the PSB and there was no such move and the contingent of 245 would participate as per previous announcement.

He said entries of all 245 athletes and officials had been approved by the organising committee of the Asian gala and training camps were already in progress. Therefore, there is no room to cut down the size of the contingent because the country would face penalties.

The POA president admitted that uncertainty about the participation should not prevail as it badly affected the preparations of the athletes.

“How an athlete can prepare for a competition when he/she is not cleared about his/her participation in the competition. To end this ambiguity the POA is in constant contact with the PSB to ensure athletes and officials in the contingent take part in the Asian Games,” Arif said.

Meanwhile, he said the meeting discussed the delay in hosting the 33rd National Games, which had been allocated to the Balochistan Olympic Association in 2012, but due to several reasons, the provincial association could not hold it.

“After the Asian Games end, a POA delegation will visit Quetta to get a final confirmation about hosting of the games,” he said.

He said to safeguard the interest of judokas, the POA had allowed two players — Hussain Shah and Qaiser Hussain — to participate in the Asian Games under the umbrella of the POA since the Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) was not affiliated with the POA.

The executive committee also approved Pakistan’s participation in the third Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, the first Winter Children of Asia Games in Sakhalin, the 13th South Asian Games in Kathmandu, the first ANOC World Beach Games in San Diego.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2018