PM felicitates hockey team, orders policy formulation to employ athletes

Published May 17, 2024
PRIME Minister Shehbaz Sharif, members of the national hockey squad and former stars of the game pose alongside other athletes at the PM House on Thursday.—APP
PRIME Minister Shehbaz Sharif, members of the national hockey squad and former stars of the game pose alongside other athletes at the PM House on Thursday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Praising the national hockey team for clinching silver medal in the recently-held Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday ordered the formulation of a policy to employ athletes through departments in order to ensure their financial security and promote sports in Pakistan.

The prime minister said this while addressing a ceremony held at the PM House in the federal capital to felicitate the hockey team on earning second spot at the six-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia earlier this month.

The Ammad Shakeel Butt-led green-shirts remained unbeaten to qualify for the final, their first of the Azlan Shah Cup in 13 years, where they fought tooth and nail before losing to Japan in a shootout.

The prime minister tasked chairman of the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme, Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan, with personally overseeing the policy of providing jobs to athletes and ensure its implementation within a week.

PM Sharif said jobs for promising athletes would free them from the struggles of earning livelihood, thus helping them to focus on sports.

On the occasion, the prime minister gave a cheque of Rs1 million to each member of the hockey squad.

Lauding the hockey team’s outstanding show in Ipoh, the PM termed it a step to revive the glory of the national sport.

“The way you came up with a challenging and competing spirit in the final shows a high potential of several victories in future,” the prime minister told the hockey squad.

PM Sharif said the government was taking steps to promote sports in the country with a special focus on hockey.

“The renewed interest in hockey throughout Pakistan signals a promising trend for the future,” he added.

“The days are not far when the glory of hockey will be revived in Pakistan and we will have legends like Islahuddin [Siddiqui], Samiullah [Khan] and Shahbaz [Senior].”

Appreciating the hard work of team, coaches and officials of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, the PM announced to soon invite PHF officials concerned to discuss with them in detail ways for reviving hockey in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Ammad expre­ssed his passion to keep up the spirit of the team and bring more laurels to the country.

Legends including Samiullah, Islahuddin and Shahbaz on the occasion lauded the interest expressed by the prime minister for promoting the national sport.

Later, the prime minister at the ceremony handed a Rs1 million cheque also to Arshad Nadeem, Pakistan’s star javelin thrower.

Pakistan’s Kashmala Talat and her team, who qualified for the rifle shooting event at this year’s Paris Olympics, were also rewarded with Rs1 million. Usman Khan, who will be participating in the equestrian event in the Olympics, was given £25,000.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2024

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