ISLAMABAD, FEB 12 (DNA) – Mansoor Ahmed Khan, Deputy Director General (Admin), Pakistan Sports Board said that Pakistan has tremendous talent for excelling in all fields of sports, but lack of financial resources was a major barrier in harnessing the talent of youth in the sports field and emphasized that the business community should come forward and contribute towards promoting various sports activities in the country.
He said that sports activities were instrumental in strengthening national unity. He said that sportsmen were the ambassadors of the country to promote the image of Pakistan and cooperation of the business community in organizing various sporting events would help in removing misperceptions about Pakistan and making it an attractive country for foreign investment. He said this while addressing the business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Giving a comparison of annual sports budget of regional countries, Mansoor Ahmed Khan said that India allocated USD 382.21 million, Iran USD 80 million, Bangladesh USD 70.78 million, Nepal USD 33.69 million, Sri Lanka USD 22.59 million, but Pakistan allocated annual sports budget of USD 6.09 million, which showed that sports was at a low national priority of the country. He identified lack of coordination among various sports stakeholders, lack of qualified coaches, lack of incentives to the players and coaches, high cost of sports gears, lack of financial resources, lack of job opportunities for players and coaches, neglect of rural areas for sports, lack of sports facilities in educational institutions & local level, non-existence of system for talent hunt from grass root level, lack of system for grooming players on modern scientific lines, lack of sports academies in the country, lack of interest of parents/community towards health standards and lack of interest in local bodies and Union Councils for sports as major hurdles for promoting sports activities in the country. He urged that the business community has the financial strength and their cooperation was important in promoting all sorts of sports in the country. He assured that Pakistan Sports Board would fully cooperate with ICCI in promoting various sports in the region.
Speaking at the occasion, Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the global sports industry was valued at over USD 500 billion and sports has emerged as an important component of socio-economic development, therefore, government should accord greater focus to promoting sports for achieving beneficial results for the economy. He said that the progress of many industries was linked with sports, therefore, promotion of sports would boost their growth. He said that ICCI has recently organized an international cycling gala as part of promoting healthy sports activity while ICCI has also planned multiple sports events in coming days and hoped that Pakistan Sports Board would fully facilitate the Chamber in these initiatives.
Fatma Azim Senior Vice President, Abdul Rehman Khan Vice President ICCI, Muhammad Shakir, Zarif Khan, Abbas Hashmi, Khalid Chaudhry and others also shared useful ideas for promoting sports activities including cricket, hockey, cycling, boxing, paragliding, skiing, badminton, tennis, judo and others.=DNA