A nation is a group of people bound together and adhering to the same culture, language, traditions, etc. Our sportsmen form an important group among the various that constitute our nation. They can be succinctly described as the modern-day gladiators, who are garlanded and glorified in victory, but may not be treated too kindly in defeat. They are nevertheless respected and heaped with praise.
Unfortunately, Pakistan, despite being full of promise and talent in the field of sports, has been an underachiever at the world stage largely due to the negligence of the government when it comes to the promotion of sports.
Pakistan has been consistently achieving laurels in Ju-Jitsu since 2006 but unlike Shahid Afridi, Misbahul Haq and Wasim Akram, the names of Muhammad Ammar, Abu Huraira, Sundas Salam, Waheed Khan, Ahmed Butt, Shahzaib and many other Jui-jitsu players are not instantly recognisable household names in our country. The common people do not know about these athletes despite their heroics of raising the green flag high and proud at many international events.
For the uninformed, Jui-jitsu is a martial arts style of self-defence which is pursued all over the world as a sport. It consists of fighting against an armed person without weapons or with short weapons such as knives and sticks. While Jui-jitsu events are arranged by governments and sports boards the world over with lucrative prizes and grants for the competitors, the government of Pakistan has ignored this sport. The future of Jui-jitsu, despite its glorious past, is getting bleaker by the day in Pakistan.
In general, sport in Pakistan is deprived of governmental focus and sponsorship.
Despite achieving numerous prizes for Pakistan at the international level, the highest prize money that Ammar, Huraira and Sundas received from the government and the Pakistan Sports Board is a mere Rs60,000, which is even less than the cost of their international tickets. Moreover, the saddest part remains that they have to resort to self-sponsoring themselves. There have been numerous underprivileged professionals who couldn’t showcase their skills at the highest level due to financial constraints and were thus forgotten. Let the same not be the case when it comes to Jui-jitsu as Pakistan has a lot of talent in this field.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2015.