Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that the government was coming up with a comprehensive plan to ensure Pakistan's complete participation in all international-level events.
“Talent hunt programmes, the establishment of more grounds, the setting up of centres of excellence, and reforms at sports board – including new sports policy to end ‘mafias’ – are four areas for us to promote the country’s talent at the international stage,” PM Imran said while addressing a gathering at the launching ceremony of the ‘Kamyab Jawan Sports Drive’ at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad.
The premier was addressing a huge crowd of young men and women that had gathered for the sports drive.
Under the first phase of the sports drive, 12 different sports tournaments for males and 10 for females would be arranged across 25 regions.
The premier was of the view that such initiatives would provide the youth with the opportunity to excel and showcase their talent at the local and regional level, serving as a stepping stone for their participation at international-level sports events.
He also spoke about the importance of space for sports, particularly grounds, while citing the example of New Zealand. "An island with a population of 5 million people has more sports grounds than Pakistan."
He pointed out that development of sports facilities for the youth that comprises 70% of the country’s population is the key objective of this sports drive. "We have so far established 300 grounds in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 260 in Punjab," he said, adding that the government was making efforts to ensure that every union council has its own sports ground.
Furthermore, he added that the government was trying to provide “better education” to the young generation. Collectively the federal, Punjab, and K-P governments have provided worth Rs47 billion scholarships and 6.3 million youths have been awarded such a grant, he added.
PM Imran also shared his experience with the youth that he learned during the 21 years in which he played cricket at the highest level and was one of the best in the world.
“I have spent 21 years of my life in sports. The first message I want to give you is that when you fight on sports grounds, you learn how to win and understand losing,” the premier said.
“You lose when you give up after getting disheartened following a defeat,” he said, adding that sports teach you how to tackle a difficult situation.
KJP sports drive
“Under ‘Kamyab Jawan Sports Drive’s first phase, 12 different sports events for male and 10 for female would be arranged across 25 regions under the talent hunt programme,” SAPM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar had said while addressing a press conference on Sunday.
The age bracket for both would be 11-25 years, he added.
Male athletes would be competing in football, cricket, hockey, badminton, boxing, handball, judo, squash, table tennis, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling.
For young females, the games would be badminton, cricket, football, hockey, boxing, handball, judo, squash, table tennis, and volleyball.
He said that after the conclusion of the games, the selected pool of talent would then compete in a national league under the programme.
The SAPM said the final pool of talent from the league would be given a chance to get trained and developed at 12 world-class sports academies and high-performance centres to be built at 12 universities under the programme.