Sports for Development and peace 6th April (World Sports day)

In a country like Pakistan where sports play a crucial role in shaping the youth and promoting a healthy lifestyle, it is disheartening to see that only cricket seems to be getting all the attention and support from sponsors, media, and various departments. While cricket is undoubtedly a beloved sport in Pakistan, it is high time to shift our focus towards promoting other sports as well. Hockey, our national sport, has been struggling to make a mark on the international stage. It is shameful that we the three times world champions have not qualified for the Olympics and have failed to win any major tournaments in the past decade. Similarly, football in Pakistan has not been able to secure a single victory in international matches. This neglect of sports other than cricket is a missed opportunity for our country to excel in diverse fields of sports. One of the key reasons for the lack of success in other sports is the absence of proper training and coaching facilities. It is essential for authorities to invest in the latest techniques and methods of training to produce skilled athletes. A systematic approach should be implemented from the grassroots level, starting from schools, colleges, universities, and clubs. The activities at these levels should be closely monitored by the Ministry of Sports, federations, and provincial associations to ensure the development of quality players.

Sponsors play a crucial role in the growth of sports. It is imperative that they are incentivized or bound to support further Olympic sports other than cricket. Due to the patchy economical condition of the country all national and multinational companies making profit here, should allocate a certain percentage of their funds towards grassroots, divisional, city, and provincial level Olympic sports activities. They must offer a career to a national level player as sustenance to continue his performance.  This will not only enhance the overall sports culture in the country but also provide opportunities for talented individuals to showcase their skills. Apart from corporate sponsors, it is also the responsibility of landowners in rural areas to promote sports activities in their respective areas or clans. Investing in sports not only contributes to the mental and physical development of the youth but also fosters a sense of peace and unity within communities. By diversifying our focus and resources towards other Olympic sports, Pakistan can unleash the potential of its athletes and make a mark on the global sports stage. It is essential for the betterment of our youth and the overall growth and development of our country. Let us work together to ensure that all sports in Pakistan receive the recognition and support they deserve.

Sports have always played a significant role in society, whether it’s bringing people together, promoting physical wellness, or fostering the spirit of friendly competition. However, sports can also be a powerful tool for development and peace, especially in countries like Pakistan where there are social, economic, and political challenges. In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the potential of sports to promote positive social change, particularly in conflict-affected and marginalized communities’ examples can be seen in East Africa where sports helped to break down barriers, build bridges between communities, and promote tolerance and understanding.

Why we are not able to make sports as profession? Sports always being treated as superfluous activity for the students if they can spare time after studies, why can’t we create opportunities as Athlete, sports person, coach, sports analyst etc.  In Pakistan, where a large percentage of the population is young, sports can be used as a resources to engage youth in constructive activities, develop leadership skills, and promote social interconnection. Furthermore, sports can also be an avenue for economic development. By investing in sports infrastructure, training programs, and talent development, Pakistan can create a thriving sports industry that not only provides employment opportunities but also contributes to the country’s GDP. Moreover, sports can help promote gender equality and empower women and girls. By encouraging participation in sports and challenging traditional gender norms, Pakistan can create a more inclusive and equitable society. In order to make sports a viable profession in Pakistan, there needs to be greater investment in sports infrastructure, coaching programs, and talent development. This will not only create opportunities for professional athletes but also for trainers, coaches, sports administrators, and other professionals in the sports industry.

Additionally, there needs to be a shift in mindset towards viewing sports as a legitimate career path. This can be achieved through promoting the benefits of sports, creating awareness about the potential career opportunities in the sports industry, and providing support and resources for aspiring athletes. In conclusion, sports can be a powerful tool for development and peace in Pakistan. We can harness the transformative power of sports to create a more prosperous, inclusive, and peaceful society. But do remember Cricket is not the only sports.

Syed Aijaz Ali
Level 4 Archery Coach (USA)

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