LAHORE: This is with reference to your news item titled “Shooting medal not beyond Pakistan” (August 4). The situation was precisely summed up by Mr Khurram Inam whom we should rightly be proud to call one of our own. To shoot a perfect 25/25 in the Olympics is by no means a small feat.
Perhaps, modesty (and a teaspoon of discretion) did not allow Mr Inam to be more explicit while summing up what sportsmen — especially those engaged in shooting sports — are up against in Pakistan. Here are a few facts interested readers should know:
1) The only skeet shooting club in Lahore was bulldozed and razed to the ground nearly two years ago, putting an end to the aspirations of many skeet shooters living in the city. No substitute club has been provided for skeet trap shooters and although space has been allocated for this, it is inaccessible to the common people. This skeet club was maintained by shooters themselves. There was no burden on the taxpayers. Why bulldoze it? In addition, targets — in this case, skeets — were imported by avid shooters themselves. Those who were supposed to manage the club did little to assist the shooters.
2) A similar situation exists in other smaller cities. There are not many shooting clubs in the country.
3) Pakistan ordnance factories, which should be supplying at least sporting cartridges (skeet and trap), stopped supplying cartridges to shooters for extended periods of time, with the result that only privileged shooters who could import their own cartridges, could take part in this sport.
4) When shooters have to travel abroad to participate in international tournaments, they are humiliated at most airports in Pakistan by airport staff, even though they mostly travel at their own expense to represent their country. They make their own financial and accommodation arrangements in foreign countries. Why do they have to suffer this humiliation?
Considering all these factors, when Mr Inam talks about the lack of coaching here, he is ignoring all the other facets, which affect shooters in Pakistan. Let us please put the record straight. Clubs, cartridges and targets before coaches! Lastly, well done Mr Inam! You deserve all the credit for keeping this sport alive in Pakistan where everyone seems to be up in arms against healthy sports activities.
Agha Hussain Haidri
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.
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