KARACHI: Amid the worries and woes of daily life, the active involvement of youth in sports and recreation can boost their mental activity.
Speaking at the seventh Dialogue in a series organised by ‘I Am Karachi’ and the Express Media Group at the Textile Institute of Pakistan on Wednesday, Pakistan Women’s Swimming Association president Veena Masud pointed out that sports helped in enriching focus and concentration.
The session was moderated by Umair Ahmed, the director of the Network of Organisations Working for People with Disabilities, Pakistan (NOWPDP), while the panel was made up of Masud and journalist Ghazi Salahuddin.
“The Karachi that I first came to know was revered by foreigners for its vibrant, throbbing atmosphere. Today, it seems like a distant dream,” remarked Masud, reminiscing about the city she witnessed a few decades ago. “Creating an environment that promotes sports and recreation will help us to reinvigorate the city.”
Masud pointed out that sports require people to take part in strenuous physical activity, leading the body to secrete adrenaline, which creates a sense of euphoria. For her, sports are vital to keep society alive.
“Technology has successfully increased the spectator spirit but participation in sports is still missing,” commented Salahuddin. “The competitive spirit inculcated by sports is also absent in our country.”
Masud agreed with him, adding that technology had worsened the state of sports in Pakistan. “People would rather play video games on their comfortable couch than do physical activity in the scorching heat,” she claimed, saying that parents must teach their children to balance their use of technology.
Salahuddin asserted that sports also increase the self-esteem of individuals. “The countries with the most prosperity and high literacy rates are successful in sports. The self-development of individuals is, therefore, propelled by the collective efforts of a society.”
Upset with the current situation of sports in the country, Masud asked the audience why Pakistan did not win medals in international competition before answering her own question. “We don’t win because the government has failed to provide facilities for sportspersons.” She urged people to support sports other than cricket as well.
She was also unhappy with the perception of swimming as an elite sport, saying that open participation must be encouraged by bringing it to everyone. She encouraged young girls to write to her personally for swimming coaching.
The next Dialogue will be held at Ziauddin University on May 7.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2015.