Pakistan has always been a sporting nation. Since gaining independence, sports like cricket, hockey and squash have given Pakistan an identity at the international stage. Pakistan was also an international hub of sports activities. It has hosted several world cups, world championships, Asian Championships and other regional events. But for the last decade or so, it had become almost an international sporting pariah because of security concerns.
But things are slowly but surely getting better. International action is returning to Pakistan and one such event is the UMA-CNS Open Asian Tour golf championship which will be held at the picturesque Karachi Golf Club from October 11-14. It’s a US$300,000 tournament with a cast of international players who would be battling for supremacy alongside local challengers.
Pakistan’s golfing fraternity, which continues to grow, is eagerly awaiting the event which would be the country’s first Asian Tour event in 11 years. ‘The News on Sunday’ talked to key stakeholders of Pakistan golf ahead of what will be one of the biggest sporting events in the country in recent times. Following are the excerpts.
Lt Gen Mian Hilal Hussain
President Pakistan Golf
“It is certainly a great development for Pakistan golf that we are having an Asian Tour tournament here. It would help in projecting a positive image of our country. I believe that the UMA-CNS Open would provide a huge opportunity to our local professionals to compete against international golfers. They can learn a great deal from the foreign players, who certainly have more experience and exposure. We are planning more international events in Pakistan in the near future as part of our campaign to lift the standard of golf in the country.”
CEO, United Marine Agencies
“When the world would see that foreign players are coming here and playing golf tournaments, they would know that our country is a sports-loving place. As an Asian Tour event, the UMA-CNS Open will showcase our naya and piyara Pakistan in a positive light. With this event we complete a decade of our association with the CNS Open this year and what better way to celebrate it than by giving Pakistan an Asian Tour tournament. I’m really confident that the tournament will turn out to be a memorable one.”
Asad I.A Khan
President Sindh Golf
“Personally, I believe that the most important aspect of the tournament is that it would underline the fact that normalcy has returned to our country. The UMA-CNS Open Asian Tour event is another proof that things are looking up in Pakistan. The timing couldn’t have been better. We have a new government and our people are hopeful of a better tomorrow. We have a sporting legend as our Prime Minister and that certainly augurs well for sports in Pakistan. A good performance from our local golfers would be like an icing on the cake.
COO, Karachi Golf Club
“Holding the UMA-CNS Open as an Asian Tour event is a huge challenge but with full support of the Pakistan Navy, Karachi Golf Club and sponsors like UMA we are confident of delivering a highly successful event. It is an important event for the entire golfing family of the country and we will leave no stone unturned in making sure that it is held in a befitting manner. The KGC committee has worked hard together with the Club management and the course is in great shape.