National Games: Punjab Olympic Association sets Dec 22 as new date

Postponed event faces financial issues after provincial govt fails to release grant.

Our Correspondent September 21, 2012

The 32nd National Games issue continues to rumble - after postponing the event once, the Punjab Olympic Association (PbOA) has announced another set of dates as the event will now be held between December 22 and 28 in Lahore.

The decision was taken in the general council meeting, chaired by PbOA President Syed Shahid Ali who also took back his resignation.

“The dates for the postponed 32nd National Games have now been set for December 22-28,” read a PbOA statement.

One of Pakistan’s most prestigious events has been marred by financial issues due to the non-cooperation of the Sports Board Punjab (SBP) and the provincial government as it failed to release a Rs50 million fund. The event, originally scheduled for October 16-22, had to be postponed after funds were not given by the Punjab government despite promises by chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and his adviser Zaeem Qadri.

Meanwhile, a PbOA official said that the body was now gearing up to make sure that the Games are held on time as issue has become a ‘laughing stock’.

“The sports federations will be helping us by bearing the expenses but we’re still looking to cut down on some events,” said the official before adding that several sports federations were not pleased by the continuous delay as they were looking at the tournament as preparation for the upcoming Asian Games.

“The Punjab government should’ve understood that it was not only about the National Games but something that would’ve been helpful for international athletes had they been held on time.”

The SBP has not released the grant on grounds that both the PbOA president and secretary are not eligible to hold office according to the National Sports Policy and a new election should be held to form an eligible body. The SBP officials also clarified that it was ready to facilitate staging the Games but not while the duo was still in office.

Meanwhile, the PbOA also announced the dates of the 5th Inter School-Inter College Games, which will be held from November 8 with the last date of registration being October 5.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2012.


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