Dear Media Friends,
We refer to media report and queries related to the Universality Place Quota of Ms. Najma Parveen which was most surprisingly declined by Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) in June, 2021 without any consultation with or any intimation to any stakeholders- not even the athlete herself nor the POA which is directly responsible for the finalization and dispatch of the National Contingent. This has led to and created a misunderstanding that Pakistan Olympic Association has withdrawn her quota which is far from the truth. On discovering that Najma’s name had been dropped by the AFP for no cogent reason and without any intimation to the POA, POA immediately took up the matter with the concerned authorities to review their decision. On review by the concerned authorities they confirmed that it was not the POA but AFP that had declined the Quota and AFP’s stated reasons for this decline was “in the larger interest of our sport”. What this larger interest of sport was, has not been clarified by AFP and is known only to itself.
Taking note of these developments and taking a serious view of this unwarranted development POA requested IOC and then the World Athletics with all necessary information, with a request to take note of the facts particularly as AFP’s act was blatant disregard and violation of the right of athlete enshrined in the Athletes’ Declaration and against all efforts to ensure participation of women in Sports without discrimination. Accepting POA’s position the quota of Ms. Najma Parveen has been reinstated.
POA also confirms that all the formalities in relation to the participation of Pakistani athletes have been completed and the final list of entries have been received today (list appended). Najma is also being supported by the Pakistan Sports Board and is amongst the PSB’s sponsored contingent. Three Pakistani Women will now participate in Tokyo 2020 including Ms. Bisma Khan (Swimming), Ms. Mahoor Shahzad (Badminton) and Ms. Najma Parveen (Athletics). Ms. Najma Parveen has also been selected for IOC’s Overarching Communications Plan for the Tokyo 2020 Games, as representative for the continent of Asia for audio-visual clip.
POA and the Athletes Commission of POA are of the considered opinion that AFP's decision to deprive Ms. Najma's right to participate in Olympic Games is contrary to our resolve to ensure participation of women in sports without any discrimination and to provide athlete with their rights enshrined in the Athletes' Declaration. Until an athlete is conclusively found in any breach be it of the WADA Code or the Code on Manipulation in Sports Competition, his/her right to participate in the competition cannot be infringed. Therefore the decision and channel adopted by AFP is being reviewed for appropriate measures to ensure such attempt of discrimination does not occur again.
All praises to Allah Karim and we wish the athlete to perform their best.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Muhammad Khalid Mahmood
Pakistan Olympic Association