Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pakistan's sole representative at Sochi 2014

It's just 8 days to the start of the Winter Olympics 2014 in the Black Sea-neighbouring city of Russia. As has always been the case, Pakistani authorities find ways to mess up. The ongoing tussle between Pakistan Olympic Association (headed by Lt Gen (r) Arif Hasan) and the Government backed National Olympic Committee (formed under the controversial National Sports policy and headed by Akram Sahi) could lead to the suspension of Pakistan's membership of the IOC. This would mean Pakistan's sole representative at Sochi, Muhammad Karim may not be able to travel to Russia, endangering Pakistan's already thin participation in the games. Karim, a teenager, is a participant in the men's slalom and giant slalom competitions. The government.
The feud started when the PML-N based government decided not to acknowledge Lt Retd Arif Hasan as the POA president after he won the seat in an election in 2012 (and defeating Sahi). The government introduced its National Sports Policy, leading to the formation of a National Olympic Committee headed by Akram Sahi. The IOC recognizes the POA headed by Arif Hasan. It has warned Pakistan that to sort out the mess by 31st January 2014 or face suspension.
IPC Minister Riaz Pirzada has clearly stated that the Government has no intention of accepting the POA under Arif Hasan which means that the suspension is imminent. This would deprive young Karim of a chance to unveil his talent at the international stage.