ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Table Tennis Federation’s efforts to send national team to the 24th ITTF Asian Table Tennis Championship were dashed to the ground, as the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) did not grant a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the players on time.

An eight-member Pakistan squad including players Bilal Yasin, Faizan Zahoor, Fahad Khan, Obaid Shah, Awais Hassan, Shabnam Bilal, Fatima Khan and Perniya Zaman along with two delegates, Saba Waris and Haji Ahsan, were to participate in the championship, which would also serve as a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, being held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from Sept 16 to 22.

Saba said the PTTF had applied for the NOC on Aug 15, four weeks prior to the event.

“The PSB said it did not receive our request. Therefore, we resent the hard copy through TCS on Aug 24 but it was also not delivered to the Board. Then I sent an official in person to receive the copy from TCS and forward it to PSB by hand on Aug 28,” Saba told APP.

According to Saba, the PSB sent the NOC to the Ministry of Interior on Sept 6 which was a week later after they received the request from the PTTF.

“It was Friday [Sept 6] followed by the weekend [Saturday and Sunday] and the holidays of ninth and tenth Muharram [Monday and Tuesday],” Saba said, adding the PSB delayed in forwarding the NOC to the Ministry of Interior.

To a question, he said if the PSB had felt that the Federation sent a late request for the NOC, then why the Board refused in the first place.

When contacted, PSB director general Arif Ibrahim claimed the NOC had been granted to the national table tennis team to participate in the Asian event.

“We received the request for NOC on Aug 28 and forwarded it to the Ministry of Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) on Sept 2 which further forwarded it to the Ministry of Interior on Sept 6,” Arif said and added that it was mandatory for the national sports federations to apply for the NOC six to eight weeks prior to any event.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2019