Syed Intikhab Ali
KARACHI: The 44th National Athletics Championship is likely to be postponed once again, this time due to differences between the top officials of Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP), ‘The News’ learnt on Wednesday.
The schedule of the championship is May 17 to 19 at the National Sports Training and Coaching Center. The championship was once postponed last month.
The organisers of the championship in the city were tightlipped about the differences between the top officials but confirmed that a general council meeting has been called in Rawalpindi on May 7 to resolve the issue.
A few members of the committee opined that the postponement could not be ruled out and that it might be deferred for unspecific time period, if the issue was not resolved.
But Zahid Rizvi, the president of Sindh Athletics Association (SAA) and secretary of the organising committee of the championship, said that he had not received any directives about postponement.
He admitted that due to some reasons preparation of the championship was going slow but “we will gain momentum in a few days as our paperwork and line of action about the championship has been finalised”.
The sources also mentioned that the preparation for the championship was going too slow due to the same reason. “We are not too clear about what is going to happen,” said a source.
It is pertinent to note that the conflict between the president and the secretary of AFP was triggered in the wake of the elections of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) held in February this year.
The AFP president Akram Sahi was contesting the election for the seat of POA president, and Khalid Mahmood, despite being the secretary of AFP, decided to join the group of Arif Hasan, who eventually won the election and Khalid was also elected as POA secretary.
Since that gulf between them has only widened as the AFP president appointed another person as a new secretary AFP in mid March.
The athletes and coaches of various disciplines have expressed concern about the manner in which the games were being handled and said that the authorities should stop their politics for the sake of athletics. They said an amicable solution should be found so that the championship could be held on time.
They said the lack of seriousness of authorities could be gauged by the recent fiasco when six out of eight girls’ athletic teams failed to appear for the PSB Under 16 Girls Athletic Championship two days back in Karachi.
People keeping an eye on the matters said the homework for the championship was still going slow.