Mar 15 - 21, 2010

There is sure something to cheer about our sports and games history. Barring the management inaptitude and politicization of this pristine human faculty, sports and games have brought good cheer to our ever-struggling nation on numerous occasions. Pakistanis have excelled both in individual and team sports. We have dominated the international scene for a number of years in squash and hockey. Our cricket, though ever-trapped in the inconsistency zone, has touched the pinnacles of international fame by surprising the top cricketing nations every now and then. We had Avaris who brought fame to Pakistan in international sailing and yachting events. The snooker veterans Muhammad Yousuf and Muhammad Saleh also shot to international fame.

Not many of us are aware of our exploits in the game of bridge. We reached the finals of the prestigious Bermuda Bowl championship in 1981. Although beaten by the US, we created ripples in the world renowned game of shear skill and intellect. Pakistan's bridge team in 1981. comprised: Nishat Abedi, Masood Salim. Munir Ataullah, Nisar Ahmad, Jan-e-Alam Fazli and Zia Mahmood. The last named was to be recognized, later, as one of the most formidable bridge players the world has produced. After some time, he shifted to US where he still plays club bridge. On wrestling front, we stuck to the traditional style and soon got wiped off from the memory of the nation. Bholoo clan held the fort for quite some time during the early period but its stalwarts were soon swept away by the fierce tsunami of free style wrestling, especially after the defeat of Akram at the hands of Japan's Inoki. Saif Shah was one name who took to the free style and made his mark in this dynamic form of wrestling.

Tennis, one of the elite sports has also produced some notables from Pakistan. Haroon Rahim and Aisamul Haq stand out. Other noteworthy names are Saeed Mir, Saeed Hai, Munir Pirzadah, Muhammad Alam and Munawwar Iqbal. Haroon Rahim's name not only appeared in the main draws of some of the top world tennis tournaments namely Wimbledon, US Open, and French Open, but he also won matches in these tournaments. Aisamul Haq won the first round of Wimbledon in 2007. Afterwards in 2009, he defeated a doubles' team that included living tennis legend, Roger Federer. Our not-so-discrete media became euphoric and set headlines that suggested Roger Federer's defeat at the hands of Aisam. Tennis doubles' game is altogether a different affair and should not be compared with the individual singles' game. This doesn't mean to take anything away from Aisam who has undoubtedly brought fame to the country. Recently, he has also won the ATP Doubles' title partnering India's Bhopati. .

On Olympic side, our performance has not been to the expectations of the nation. Large contingents of around hundred plus sportsmen are normally sent to take part in world and regional events without even checking on their ability to withstand the stress of such high profile contests. The joy-ride gala ends in minimal output on the medal winning front. During the latest winter world Olympics held at Vancouver in February 2010, we failed, as usual, to win even a single medal. It was in the 11th South Asian games held in Dhaka in 2010, that we finished second after India with a reasonable tally of medals. So, it can be said, that our Olympic capacity is well below the minimum required level and that we can compete only on regional level.


1 India 90 57 55 35 29 13 174 33
2 Pakistan 19 12 25 16 36 17 80 15
3 Bangladesh 18 11 23 15 56 26 97 18
4 Sri Lanka 16 10 35 22 54 25 105 20
5 Nepal 8 5 9 6 19 9 36 7
6 Afghanistan 7 5 9 5 16 7 32 6
7 Bhutan 0 0 2 1 3 1 5 1
8 Maldives 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 -
. Total 158 100 158 100 215 100 531 100

During the last Asian games held in 2006 in Doha, we managed to occupy 30th position in the 37-country event by winning just three medals- one silver, two bronze. Our world Olympic history has also been dismal. Since 1948, we have taken part in 16 Olympics fifteen summer and one winter (at Vancouver this year). In all, we have won just 10 medals three gold, three silver and four bronze. Result-wise, 1960 Olympics were the best for us when we won one gold in hockey and one bronze in wrestling. Although the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics were a medal less undertaking, yet there was something to sing about as Muhammad Abbas became Pakistan's first athlete to qualify in the Alpine Skiing (Giant Salom) category. In 1996, Atlanta summer Olympics, Pakistan's Syed Hadi Haider won a bronze in Tae Kwan Do, but was not included in the official tally of medals as the sport was not given full status.

Cricket alone maintains its love and hate relationship with the Pakistani nation. The Oval victory of 1954 when Fazal Mahmood knocked off 12 England wickets, Hanif Muhammad's mammoth innings 334 in West Indies at Kingston Oval in 1958 in the most excruciating and hostile circumstances, the glorious moments of 1992 when Pakistan won the World Cup and also the rejoicing T-20 Cup win in 2009, all conjure up pleasant memories. Then are the horrible nightmares: 1999 World Cup final when the team lost in mysterious circumstances, the West Indies World Cup debacle when, besides ignominious defeat at the hands of low-ranked Ireland, we lost our coach Bob Woolmer, and the latest shameful defeats in Sri Lanka and Australia. Nevertheless, cricket is the only game that never looses its charm. There are such household names attached to this game as Fazal Mahmood, Hanif Muhammad, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younus, Inzimam, Muhammad Yousuf, and of course many more.

The two games most ruthlessly destroyed by the managers and administrators are squash and hockey. We ruled the world of squash for many years through the legends Jehangir Khan and Jansher Khan. Others who significantly contributed to this game are Roshan Khan, Hashim Khan, Qamar Zaman, Torsham Khan, Rehmat Khan, Mohibullah, Gogi Alauddin. The national game hockey has been ruined by our so-called experts who blindly banked on sub-continent hockey style giving little heed to the changes the westerners introduced to the game to transform it to an altogether different plane - from skill and subtleness to stamina and power. In 1960, we took our game to the heights by dethroning six-time Olympic champion India. In 2010, we stand at the edge of the abyss of ignominy after getting drubbed by the bottom team South Africa.