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A golden opportunity

PSB is going to host the 48th National Athletics Championship from April 7 to 9

A golden opportunity

This is the best time for the management of PSB’s national coaching centre in Karachi, Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) and Sindh Athletic Association (SAA) to get a firm promise from the authorities of PSB to replace its tartan track. The centre is going to host the 48th National Athletics Championship from April 7 to 9.

Its state-of-the-art boxing gymnasium has been completed 90 percent but due to lethargic attitude of bureaucracy it has not been operational. The big bosses of PSB will be at the national coaching centre during the three days of the championship.

The PSB high officials and PAF high-ups will be present, which will be an ideal occasion for Sindh sports authorities and provincial associations to emphasise the importance of these two sports project for Sindh-based athletes.

The tartan track replacement has been due for more than a decade. As much as 90 percent work on the boxing gymnasium and an indoor complex was completed seven to eight years ago, but there has been no benefit of the two because of a few minor works that remain.

The PSB authorities already know the disastrous situation created at national coaching centre in Karachi, but they will gather in Karachi after a long period and provincial sports authorities and provincial sports bodies should not waste this opportunity. They must get the assurance of completion of these two projects as soon as possible.

PSB authorities have so many times admitted that the tartan track is very old and should be replaced. They have recommended at least five times to federal government for its replacement but all their efforts proved fruitless.

PSB earns more than Rs5 million from Karachi’s national coaching centre annually under the head of rent from those educational institutions who organise their sports activities.

Now is the occasion to get the assurance, either at the inauguration of the athletics championship or at the closing ceremony.

Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah will be the chief guest at the inauguration. He should ask the PSB management why Sindh is being deprived of a new tartan track and Pakistan’s finest indoor sports complex and gymnasium.

The tartan track was laid in 1996. Thrice have the authorities been forced to shift the national athletics championship from Karachi because of its poor condition. But this time they have decided to organise the championship despite all difficulties because ignoring

such a big city time and again was also questionable.

Only two national athletic championships out of 47 have been organised in Karachi. Therefore, the PAF sent technical officials for improvement of the existing tartan track.

According to former athletes, the tartan track completed its life in 2004-5. The boxing gymnasium and indoor complex only need finishing work. Only electrical work, installation of taps in washrooms, paint, fixing of doors and some other little works remain.

The indoor complex has facilities for boxing, badminton, table tennis, bodybuilding and weightlifting. It has capacity for 2000 spectators.

After its opening the province will be able to host boxing and other sports events at one place. Two successive federal governments have failed to complete the 10 percent development work.

The participating teams are arriving, organising secretary Zahid Rizvi informed ‘The News on Sunday’. He said that the visiting teams have started flexing their muscles for the championship.

Rizvi, also the president of Sindh Athletic Association (SAA), said that around 600 athletes, male and female, would participate in the championship.

Syed Intikhab Ali

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