To encourage and facilitate students participating in sports, the Punjab University vice chancellor (VC) recently announced their exemption from exams overlapping with university sports tournaments. The students can later appear in exams, especially arranged for them.
“Most students are discouraged from participating in sports due to this reason. Realising their difficulties, the VC has offered this facility to encourage enthusiastic students,” Farhat Hussain Siddique, the PU sports director, said. Siddique, who was talking to The Express Tribune, said that youth should be encouraged to bring forth their abilities.
Talking about PU’s affiliation with other colleges, the sports director said that some 360 institutions across the Punjab are attached to the PU Sports Tournament Committee. An inter-collegiate championship tournament takes place amongst the members of this committee annually, he added.
“The best of all these colleges are chosen to form the PU team,” he said adding, “This team represents PU at the inter-university championship.”
Explaining the hierarchy of these teams, Siddique said that the best players from the inter-university championship then finally form the HEC team which represents Pakistan at the international level. “A nine-student HEC team from PU represented Pakistan at the World University Games in China” Siddique told The Tribune.
He said that the university encouraged students to excel in both academics and sports. Physical fitness and exercise, he said, was neglected by institutions. “Sports are considered a distraction from studies by many students and their parents. Fortunately, Prof Mujahid Kamran has always appreciated and supported sports and provided students with facilities that were scarcely offered before.” Prof Kamran, a sportsman himself, has offered academic scholarships to students excelling in sports, he added.
Siddique regretted that the biggest objection regarding the participation of female students in sports came from their families. “I always tell my female students to focus on their performance and avoid hesitation. The situation has become better over the years,” he said.
Highlighting some issues concerning women’s sports, he said, there was a need to provide them with training and playing, transportation and a tolerant social environment that encourages their performance.
He told The Tribune that a karate programme designed especially for female students and proposed by the VC, was signed up by more than 300 girls ‘much to the surprise of the administration.’ This resulted in the administration allotting a separate space for the programme, he added. Siddique said that such a big number suggested the enthusiasm of female students towards sports. He said it was essential for institutions to provide a comfortable and conducive environment to female students. Siddique, considered as one of the pioneers of women’s sports in Pakistan and having trained many girls at camps across Lahore, said that he was a strong supporter of female participation in sports. “I faced a lot of opposition when I trained my sisters to play hockey in the grounds,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2011.