SPORTS IN PAKISTAN
S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
Research Analyst, PAGE
Feb 21 - 27, 2011
Hockey is the national sport in Pakistan, but today cricket is the most popular sport in the country. Traditional sports like Kabaddi and other well-known games are also played nationwide.
Pakistan Sports Board aims at promoting and developing uniform standards of competition in sports in Pakistan and that is comparable to the standards prevailing internationally. It is also regulating and controlling sports on a national basis. The ministry of culture, sports and tourism has control over the board. The PSB controls all 39 sporting federations.
Over recent years, there has been an increase in sporting activity in Pakistan, with Pakistani sportsmen and women participating at many national and international events. Also, more international tournaments now take place in Pakistan.
In the world, Pakistan has produced many multi-talented players who have been among the best batsmen and bowlers in cricket game. Pakistan has won several international cricket events including the 1992 Cricket World Cup and the 2009 ICC World Twenty20, besides finishing as runner up in 1999 World Cup and 2007 World Twenty20. International test and one-day matches are played between the Pakistan national team and foreign opponents regularly. Women's cricket is also very popular.
Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is the national governing body of field hockey in Pakistan. Pakistan Hockey Federation Women Wing (PHFWW) is the official organization of women's field hockey in Pakistan. The Pakistan men's team has won gold medals at the Olympics and lifted the hockey world cup. It has also won the most number of Asian gold medals and is the only Asian team to have won the prestigious champions trophy with three titles. It has been ranked consecutively amongst the top teams in the world.
Football has also enjoyed a powerful growth as a spectator sport in Pakistan since the 1990s and is slowly catching up with the cricket. Football is played mostly on a local level, primarily in Balochistan. These areas provide most of the players on the national team. Pakistan Football Federation Women Organizing Committee (PFFWOC) is responsible for women's football in Pakistan. In 2004, the Pakistan premier league was established and is the first division of Pakistani football. The national football challenge cup is the national knockout cup competition in Pakistani football, run by the Pakistan football federation. The Pakistan national women's football championship is the annual women's championship.
Pakistan Golf Federation (PGF) runs golf in Pakistan. Pakistan has qualified for the Golf World Cup four times: 1975, 1977, 1982, and 2009 when the team finished joint 22nd out of the 28 qualifying teams. Karachi golf club is one of the oldest sports clubs in the country and it is where the Pakistan Open takes place. The Pakistan Open was founded in 1967 and became an Asian Tour event in 2006. Chris Rodgers won the Pakistan Open in 2006. The 2007 event was held in January and had a prize money of US$330,000.
Taimur Hussain has been Pakistan's most successful golfer and won the 1998 Myanmar Open, becoming the first Pakistani to win on the Asian Tour.
Squash is another popular sport that has a large following in Pakistan, with Pakistan dominating the sport for decades. Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan are considered legends of the sport and have won several world squash championships and other tournaments. Pakistani players have won the squash world open 17 times, and British open 12 times, the highest by any nation.
Pakistan has many Karate clubs of different styles and they are holding their regular tournaments at national and regional levels. Karate is also a regular part of school sport programs. Grand Master professor Syed Sakhawat Ali is the first and only martial art master in Pakistan. Pakistan won seven gold and one silver medals on first attempt in the history of any international karate tournament and also won number of gold medals in karate tournament held in Iran.
Polo is believed to have originated in Central Asia, and continues to be an important sport within the country with several large annual competitions. The Shandur polo tournament, played at the world's highest polo ground every June, is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Chitral and Gilgit in Northern Pakistan.
Polo is played professionally with a number of Argentine players.
Tennis is also a very popular sport and Pakistanis compete in various international events. Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) organizes the game in the country.
Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) organizes boxing matches in Pakistan. Pakistan Amateur Boxing Federation (PABF) organizes amateur matches. Pakistan has seen success at amateur level boxing, despite lack of necessary equipment and facilities. It has won medals at the Olympic and Commonwealth games.
There is no lack of talent in Pakistan. If our players work hard they can become world class players. Pakistan is full of talents and our players have ability to excel in numbers of sports but we need to change the way of giving training to national players. If any player keeps focus on hard working, he will definitely achieve a top position in every sport.