Preparations for 48th National Athletic championship at PSB’s national coaching center in Karachi are in full swing these days. The championship is scheduled to be held in Karachi from April 7 to 9, and more than 500 male and female athletes are expected to participate in the championship.
It may be noted that the championship was scheduled in Karachi and shifted as many as three times after it was allotted to Sindh Athletic Association (SAA).
It is surprising that PAF and PSB authorities are reluctant to organise athletics event in Karachi despite knowing the importance of this city. Of the 47 athletics championships, only two have been held in Karachi.
At last Pakistan Athletics Federation (PAF) realised that Karachi is Karachi, the world’s second most populous city. It is the backbone of the country’s economy but has always been neglected.
The PSB’s national coaching center’s Tartan Track is in a very bad condition.
It must be noted here that NSTCC is the only sports centre in the province with a tartan track. But its track is too old. A new track has been due for a decade now. The dilapidated condition of this track has caused postponement of several athletics championships. But PSB did not replace it despite promises.
The national athletics championship has been shifted from Karachi due to the poor condition of the existing Tartan Track.
This time PAF has sent technical officials to help Sindh Athletic Association (SAA) and national coaching center management organise the event successfully. Technical official capt (rtd) Muhammad Ashraf is supervising the maintenance work.
An Electronic Timer is also being installed here to record results accurately. New marking of lanes and lines on Tartan Track is near completion.
He says the tartan track is old but he will improve its condition for the championship.
He says the hammer cage, discus throw and shotput circles, and long jumping pads are also being prepared anew for the championship.
Ashraf is confident the tartan track will be ready for the championship within the stipulated time.
President Sindh Athletics Association (SAA) Zahid Rizvi, who is the chairman of the organising committee, says that preparation for the event in a befitting manner has been started.
The participating teams are Army, PAF, Navy, WAPDA, Railways, HEC, Islamabad, Punjab, Sindh, KP, Balochistan, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Rizvi says more than 500 athletes will participate in the championship, scheduled to be held from April 7-9.
Rizvi says that Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has sent a technical official to install the timer and maintain the tartan track during the event.
He says there are financial problems, but they will overcome them.
Rizvi says all departmental teams will have to arrange their lodging. “We will provide lodging to regional teams only,” he said.
He adds that SAA has started meetings for the formation of various committees to manage the event.
He says experienced athletes of the province will be involved in organising the championship.
According to Rizvi qualified coach Muhammad Talib will also be involved in the championship. He will be the chairman of the technical committee.
Muhammad Talib says it is great that the national athletic championship is being organised in Karachi. He says he will provide all his expertise to make the championship successful.
General secretary of Karachi Athletic Association (KAA) Gohar Raza says that all athletic fraternity in the province had been waiting for this opportunity for a long time.
He adds that KAA will play its due role in the success of championship.