SPORTS-LOVING KARACHI AND LAHORE
Research Analyst, PAGE
Mar 15 - 21, 2010
Karachi and Lahore are the popular springboards of sportsmanship in Pakistan. Both cities have produced a large number of sportsmen in cricket, hockey, snooker, squash, athletics, swimming, boxing, shooting, table tennis, badminton, kabaddi, polo, football, bridge, chess, cycling and in many other games.
Karachi and Lahore have hosted many international events-twice the cricket world cup, hockey world cup and champions trophy, international boxing events, Asian games, and tennis events etc.
SPORTS IN KARACHI
Cricket is the most popular sport in Karachi and is usually played in many small grounds around the city. Cricket is also played in the narrow street ways of the city. Nighttime cricket, popularly called night match, can be seen at weekends when people play brightly lit, late night matches on city streets and the game continues until dawn.
Karachi has one excellent cricket stadium National Stadium. The National Stadium (NSK) is Karachi's fifth and Pakistan's 11th first-class ground. The inaugural first-class match was played at NSK between Pakistan and India on April 21ñ24, 1955. It has been a far less successful limited-overs venue, with defeats outnumbering victories. In fact, in a little under five years from the start of 1996, Pakistan failed to win on the ground. It staged a quarter-final match in the 1996-97 World Cup. In 34 Tests between that first match and December 2000 Pakistan won 17 and was never beaten. Only Test defeat on the ground came in the gloom against England in 2000-01.
Terrorist acts, mainly bombings, have meant that non-Asian sides have refused to play in the city, and in five years only Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have visited.
Other popular sports in the city are hockey, boxing, association football, golf, table tennis, snooker, squash, and horseracing. Sports like badminton, volleyball, and basketball are popular in schools and colleges. Football is especially popular in Lyari Town, which has a large Afro-Balochi community and has always been a football-mad locality in Karachi. The Peoples Football Stadium is perhaps the largest football stadium in Pakistan with respect to capacity, easily accommodating around 40,000 people. In 2005, the city hosted the SAFF Championship at this ground, as well as the Football League 2007, which attracted capacity crowds during the games. The city has facilities for hockey (the Hockey Club of Pakistan, UBL Hockey Ground), boxing (KPT Sports Complex), squash (Jahangir Khan Squash Complex), and polo. Marinas and boating clubs add to the diverse sporting activities in Karachi.
SPORTS IN LAHORE
Gaddafi Stadium is a test cricket ground in Lahore. Designed by Pakistani architect Nayyar Ali Dada, it was completed in 1959 and is one of the biggest cricket stadiums in Asia. After its renovation for the 1996 Cricket World Cup, the stadium now boasts a capacity of over 60,000. Nearby is an athletics stadium, a basketball pitch, the Al Hamra, open-air hall similar in design to the coliseum, and the world's largest field hockey stadium, another Cricket Ground and Headquarters of Pakistan Cricket Board, all based in the city's Sports complex. In the same vicinity lie headquarters of the Pakistan Football Federation, as well as the multi-sport Punjab Stadium.
Lahore is home to Pakistan Premier League giants WAPDA FC, Pakistan Railways FC, PEL FC, and Wohaib FC. In addition to football, Kabaddi, a South Asian team sport, is also popular in Lahore. Many citizens play Kabbadi after work.
The Lahore Marathon is part of an annual package of six international marathons across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The Lahore race carries prize money of approximately US$100,000. More than 20,000 athletes from Pakistan and all over the world participate in this event. It was first held on January 30, 2005, and again on January 29, 2006. More than 22,000 people participated in the 2006 race. The third marathon was held on January 14, 2007. Plans exist to build Pakistan's first sports city in Lahore, on the bank of the Ravi River.
NOTABLE PLAYERS FROM KARACHI
Karachi has produced many notable players in different categories of sports. In cricket Karachi has produced many legends like Hanif Muhammad, Mushtaq Muhammad, Sadiq Muhammad, Asif Iqbal, Zaheer Abbas, Wasim Bari, Javed Miandad, Mohsin Hasan Khan, Touseef Ahmed, Shoaib Muhammad, Asif Mujtaba, Saleem Yousuf, Moin Khan, Saeed Anwer, Rashid Latif, Muhammad Sami, Shahid Afridi, Danish Kaneria, Asim Kamal, Fawad Alam etc.
In hockey legendary players include Islahuddin Siddiqui, Safdar Abbas, Hasan Sardar, Mansoor Ahmed, Wasim Feroze, Ahmed Alam, Munawwaruz Zaman, Sohail Abbas, Kamran Ashraf, Kashif Jawad etc.
In snooker, Muhammad Yousuf took the world championship title in 1994 to make the country proud. In yachting Karachi's Behram Dinshawji Avari won an olympic medal for Pakistan. Similarly, in boxing Hussain Shah from Karachi won the bronze medal for Pakistan in 1988 Seoul Olympics. Recently Karachi's Nasim Hameed became the fastest woman of South Asia by winning the 100 metre race in a record time of 11.8 seconds.
NOTABLE PLAYERS FROM LAHORE
Like Karachi, Lahore also has produced many notable players in different categories of sports. In cricket Lahore has produced many legends like Abdul Hafeez Kardar, Fazal Mahmoud, Imtiaz Ahmed, Majid Khan, Intikhab Alam, Aamer Sohail, Abdul Qadir, Abdul Razzaq, Imran Farhat, Imran Khan, Kamran Akmal, Wasim Akram, Mohammad Yousuf, Saqlain Mushtaq, Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Rameez Raja, Salman Butt, Umer Akmal etc. Notable hockey players include Munir Dar, Tanvir Dar, Akhter Rasool, Qasim Zia, Muhammad Saqlain, Rehan Butt, and Salman Akbar etc. Lahore has also produced one of the best Asian Tennis players Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi who has represented Pakistan in many international events including Grand Slam events like Wimbledon, the Australian open and the U.S. open.
The sport in Pakistan is declining day by day. However, the contribution of Karachi & Lahore has always been significant in all categories of sports in Pakistan.
In order to create more opportunities and to make more talents from these two big cities, the government must allocate more budgets towards sports and more ground should be built in order to facilitate the sports loving people of both Karachi and Lahore.