Playing a Sport is a way of life in our country. Right?
But did you know that Pakistani Tennis player Aisamul Haq just won the New York Open? That the Pakistani Team just won the Kabaddi Championship? That Hockey in Pakistan was a Super Sport? That we reigned over the world of International Squash Championships for over a decade?
Many street games, most of all, cricket, are played passionately throughout the streets of Pakistan. As PSL Season closes in, cricket takes on a fanatical obsession and we turn towards following our fav teams for the month (as Corona Virus and Climate change takes a back seat this once).
However, with the ongoing cricket hype, perhaps there is the need to highlight other sports in Pakistan as well. Cricket has no doubt, commanded an eternally steadfast following amongst our masses. But we wish our youth would have access to platforms like Hockey, Squash, Kabaddi, Wrestling, Snooker, Tennis and so many others as well! Pakistani sportspeople in all fields are immensely talented, and they have proved , time and again, that with or without adequate official funding, they have managed to make a mark internationally. Why are we not then, appreciating the not so famous sportspeople ? Are they not making us proud just as much as the cricketers are?
The following sports would do with some funds allocation – so PSL can encompass more than just cricket one day!
We all know Hockey is Pakistan’s national sport, but how much do we take it into account? Did you know that Pakistan has won 4 Hockey World Cups? Haan bhae 4. And that memorable Olympic Gold! It’s a big deal especially because no one talks about it, par kyun? Did we stop to wonder if maybe those 4 could be 8 or maybe 10 if we had just highlighted it a bit more and appreciated our teams as much as they deserve.
This one was a shocker for us too, Pakistan won 14 world cups in Squash. Humain tou koi ata pata he nahi tha. Pakistan houses so many talented squash players like Jansher Khan who won 8 world championships in the Sport, and is said to be one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. Jahangir Khan is a monument in his own right. Squash ruled the world for over a decade as Jahangir won championship after championship to earn accolades for Pakistan!
Snooker is another underrated sport that is still played around Pakistan in just about all clubs and gaming zones, plus there are separate Snooker clubs all over the country, maybe that’s where the famous cueist Mohammad Asif polished his skills? Asif is two-time winner of the IBSF World Snooker Championship. Speaking of which, how many of us knew about him? I for one, didn’t, and I’m ashamed, he is out there making Pakistan proud and I did not even recognize his efforts.
Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh, and for the first time, Pakistani sportsmen won the World Cup! Twitter was going crazy as were we. We’re so proud of the Kabaddi team for bringing us this honor but as usual we will forget about it soon enough. Hype karain aur motivation dain, so that our stars are given the spotlight they deserve.
Did you know Pakistan qualified for the World Cup in Golf 4 times? Unfortunately we didn’t win, but the fact that our team even qualified? That too 4 times? Taliyaan houni chayen.
If you visit Karachi Golf Club or Islamabad Golf Club or any other golfing range, you’ll find dozens of golfers, from children to adults all enjoying themselves. Famous golfer Shabbir Iqbal started his golfing career as a caddie at Islamabad Golf Club, from where he eventually started playing the sport and now has 140 wins in his pocket. Inki recognition kahan hai?
Pakistan has been victorious in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games when it comes to Boxing. We do have famous boxers like Amir Khan making us proud, but there are so many people flying under the radar who shouldn’t be, Haider Ali for example, who is a Commonwealth Gold medalist and Olympian. Inam Butt, another wrestler from Gujranwala, who won 4 gold medals in his matches, the latest being his current win in the ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019, he also won a silver and bronze medal in two other matches.
Pakistan’s present-day top ranking tennis player Aisam ul Haq Qureshi, is the only Pakistani to make it to the final of a Grand Slam. He has represented Pakistan all over the world, and just a couple of days ago, he won the Final of the New York Open with his partner. Another person making Pakistan proud is Ushna Sohail, who was one of the first Pakistani female players to compete in the Asian Games.
There are so many other sports and so many other sportspeople who we just don’t talk about or patronize as fans, and yes, as a nation!
Yes cricket is important, but so are the rest. These sportspeople spend their entire lives building their careers and making our nation proud. When they stand on that winner’s pedestal, they uphold the National flag – they uphold our pride.
Perhaps our change makers in the Sports ministry need to reset priorities and fast! We have a talented youth for whom, the sky is the limit. But a little push won’t hurt. They are capable of achieving wonders, all we need to do is give them a chance. What say you?