Participation in South Asian Games in India depends on govt clearance: Arif Hasan

Karachi: Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) President Arif Hasan on Tuesday said that Pakistan’s participation in South Asian Games to be held in India next year from February 6 to 16 depends on government’s clearance.

“Pakistan has security concerns for our players in India. So the ball is in government’s court whether they allow us to travel to India to feature in next year’s South Asian Games to be held in Guwahati and Shilong,” Arif told reporters here at Karachi Press Club.

However, he said that he wants federations to start preparing for the Games. “Camp for the South Asian Games will commence soon and our athletes will be focusing to prepare for the event with full concentration,” he added.

He further said that infrastructure of different sports should be established in a proper manner in the country if Pakistan want to thrive in international arena.

“Proper infrastructure of sports in the country could only be established with the concerted efforts of organizations concerned,” he said.

“All federations should dig and groom talent from the grass-root level and organize different programs in schools and colleges for that purpose,” he added.

He further said that he now has better relations with Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) than it were have been in the past.

Previously, the two national sports bodies were at loggerheads with each other with PSB even establishing a parallel POA body.

He said that national games will be hosted by Quetta. “Next month I will visit Quetta along with a POA task force to evaluate security arrangements and other preparation for the national games there.”

Arif said that National Beach Games to be held in Karachi would mostly be scheduled for March 2016 since the Pakistan would be participating in South Asian Games in February.

POA Media Advisor Asif Azeem, Sindh Olympic Association (SOA) Secretary Ahmed Ali Rajput, Vice President Mehfuzul Haq and Treasurer Saeed Jameel were also present on the occasion.