Asian Games rewards: 14 months on, promises remain unfulfilled

Pakistani medallists await remaining dues announced by prime minister.


Our Correspondent February 25, 2012

KARACHI:


Pakistan’s encouraging show at the 2010 Asian Games, where the contingent won several medals, drew instant recognition from Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who announced hefty cash rewards for the medallists.


However, 14 months on, the Asian Games medallists have only received half of what was promised, pointing to the sad state of affairs of sports in the country. The national hockey team, which won gold after a gap of 20 years, was slated to receive Rs40 million but so far, only half the amount has been released.

Midfielder Mohammad Waseem had harsh words for the authorities over the lack of urgency shown in the distribution of the reward.

“Several juniors who are not yet established members of the team have been asking me as well as other seniors to raise our voices over this injustice because they fear being axed if they bring up the issue,” Waseem told The Express Tribune. “It’s a joke. People want hockey to regain its lost glory but how can the sport reach those heights when a promise made by the prime minister is not fulfilled even after a year. Such antics will only force our youth not to take up hockey.”

‘It’s a shame’

Meanwhile, squash players Aamir Atlas and Farhan Mehboob, who won gold and silver at the event, are also awaiting their reward. Atlas was promised Rs7 million, while Rs5 million were declared for Mehboob.

“I’m thankful that we’ve been given at least half the cash prize but it’s a shame that we’ve been kept waiting for the rest,” said Atlas.

Mehboob, while echoing Atlas’ sentiments, said that delay in distributing the dues was a cause of concern because the amount involved was not a small one and the authorities needed to interfere before any corruption related to the cash reward occurs.

The Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association President Alamgir Sheikh, meanwhile, blasted the PM Secretariat over the negligence.

“Blaming the prime minister for this would be wrong,” he said. “It’s the officials of his secretariat who haven’t followed his orders. They should be held accountable.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2012.

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