There won’t be any athletes and swimmers from Pakistan in the Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi in October.
Though there are reports that Pakistan had submitted a list of participants for the Games before the June 30 deadline, it is learnt that the government has decided not to include athletes and swimmers, as they are not medal prospects.
Pakistani newspaper reports said the athletes and swimmers have also been pulled out of the Asian Games in China in November.
The decision not to send entries in athletics and swimming was taken by the Federal Ministry of Sports, which is the ultimate authority in Pakistan to decided foreign tours for sportspersons. The national federations had picked three athletes and four swimmers for the CWG but the ministry ruled otherwise.
“Participation in international events depends on the National Olympic Committee and the government, which provides the funds. The federation can only suggest names for the event,” said Khalid Mahmood, secretary, Amateur Athletics Association of Pakistan.
Though there are reports that the government is firm on its resolve because of limited funds for this year’s two mega events, Mahmood said he was confident the government would relent. “I am still confident that the Pakistani athletes will participate in the CWG,” he said.
However, the athletes seemed resigned to their faith. “After returning from the South Asian Games early this year, we did not go home but went straight to the camps. But after having spent three-and-a-half months in camps, suddenly we were informed that the authorities don’t want to send athletes to these games and so we had no option but to go home,” the country’s leading discus thrower, Basharat Ali, who won gold in the South Asian Games, was quoted as saying by The News.