One must give credit where it is due and the ruling PTI’s initiative to build more sports grounds and improve the existing infrastructure of the sector is commendable. Under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s leadership, the Kamyab Jawan Sports Drive was launched on Monday. The initial phase of the programme will consist of four projects worth Rs4 billion to keep the youth engaged in extracurricular and sports activities. The government has also announced a talent hunt programme aimed at preparing the youth for international competitions, while also establish centres to hone skills of our athletes. After the national embarrassment faced at the recently held Tokyo Olympics 2020, one cannot stress enough the importance for improvement of the sports infrastructure in Pakistan.
The success stories of this year’s summer games – Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem and weightlifter Talha Talib – were solely based on their talent and struggle with little help from the country’s sporting federations. The Men in Green that recently reached the semi-finals in T20 World Cup too had to work twice as hard compared to their competitors as we have all heard stories of lack of gym equipment for training by their former cricketers. In the wake of this, the Sports Drive will not only help our youth but also help in improving the country’s soft image. Sports after all brings countries together and can hugely help in promoting a positive image of the country. It is also pertinent to note that during the Tokyo Olympics, the hardline BJP regime in India was faced with the farmers’ protest as well as the backlash of its Coronavirus related policies that saw scores of people dying, but it was its achievements in the sporting arena that made headlines globally.
The Kamyab Jawan Sports Drive has already attracted global attention with former English footballer Michael Owen joining the project. We hope that unlike previous initiatives launched by the previous governments, the project bears fruit. Our youth has for far too long been deprived of the opportunity to venture into sports. This positive revival of sports culture in the country will help them gain numerous physical and mental benefits. And as the premier himself stated on Wednesday, Pakistan has the potential to become “a great nation of the world in terms of sports”.