‘Hockey fiasco’

November 07, 2019

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APPROPOS the editorial ‘Hockey fiasco’ (Oct 31) and the letters in Dawn (Oct 30 and Nov 3). We must remember that sports have ceased to flourish in Pakistan because they are no more home grown. Traditionally our schools used to be sports nurseries; the concept of sports clubs as in the developed world is still alien to us.

We need to review how many and what percentage of schools cater to each sport on a regular basis with necessary infrastructure. Revelation would be dismal; the rot began with the separation of sports from education as a state policy.

Hockey was flourishing when it was being played at schools having playgrounds supplemented by several municipal hockey grounds in each town. This base was exploited, groomed and supported by the National Sports Federations and patronised by the state. Men like Noor Khan were able to produce the cherished results in hockey and squash and other sports.

However the rot set off around five decades ago has dried up the source. Today, the vast base stands eroded, and no matter what you do from the top, it goes into a bottomless pit generating no results.

The federal government after the 18th constitutional amendment holds no sway either with sports or with education. Aptly the task force on sports has proposed winding up the Pakistan Sports Board and utilising the federal sports infrastructure at least in Islamabad for a sports development institute catering to the much needed and meaningful advance in sports knowledge, skills and physical fitness.

Sports surfaces, gears and equipment have undergone a sea of change over the years, but here too we are left far behind, restraining our capacity to perform.

The Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination should focus on creating consensus on broad objectives of education to enlist, groom and optimise the entire latent capacities of youth [sports included] and help the provinces make concerted effort to achieve those objectives.

Saiyid Muhammad Sibtain

Karachi

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2019