The Pakistan Olympic Association’s (POA) Athletes Commission mainly focuses on the growth of the capabilities of athletes and their adaptation to sporting characteristics.
The first ‘Global Athletes Conference’ was recently organised by the Commission in Lahore, with the core concept of teaching athletes about sports accidents, remedial solutions, doping, etc and supplying them with advice and information for a successful future.
Injuries are part of the career of any competitor. They experience fitness problems, injuries or sometimes even career-threatening accidents right from the first day, when he or she steps on the field until the time of retirement, that either force them to take a break from the game or compel them to end their careers.
The other part of sports that could impact the future of a competitor which is a declared crime is the consumption of drugs and other chemicals, which is called doping, to boost or enhance their performance.
In the Olympic movement, certain activities are strictly banned and the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), which operates together with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to remove doping from the world of athletics, is the watchdog body for the prevention of doping.
In the National Athletes Platform, which proved to be a major hit, both of these things were illustrated.
The event opened with a virtual session with Mr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who expressed his views with the athletes and applauded the efforts of the Athletes Commission and POA to represent the world with an optimistic and soft picture by hosting a great event where full Covid-19 SOPs were also observed.
Bach greatly stressed that athletes are not only at the centre of the Olympic culture, they are the heart of it. He admired the athletes for showing optimism even in challenging times by showing the world that they are united together.
Lt. Gen (R) Muzammil Hussain, WAPDA Chairman, who also accepted the opening ceremony, added that the Pakistan Olympic Association’s Athletes Forum is a wonderful initiative to inspire young guns and make them become more competitive and learn to compete better.
With his experience in sports protocols and balanced eating and food habits, medical consultant Dr. Asad Abbas Shah enlightened the athletes to remain healthy and fit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The problem of sports injuries, both on and off the ground, and the remedial action to be taken by the athletes and medical associates were later discussed.
Dr. Lubna Sibtain, who is also the mother of Olympian Rubab Raza, shared her experience of grooming and raising an Olympian and her attempts to eradicate instances of doping from sports when engaging with the crowd.
Two of our national athletes have tested positive for performance-enhancing substances over the past few years, including Mohammad Shah, the 110-m hurdler who used a substance called ‘Stanozol, while Noshee Parveen, the 100-m hurdler, was found guilty of using Nandrolone just before the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.
Later three more athletes were also penalised for doping at the 2019 South Asian Games.
The outcome control mechanism for player doping cases was clarified by Waqar Ahmed, Chairman of the Anti-Doping Association of Pakistan (ADOP).
During her presentation, Ada Jafery addressed protection from bullying and violence in sports that athletes frequently face and expanded on what steps they need to take.
Ada also reported that the monitoring system has been established by POA to avoid certain scenarios in the future and to ensure that athletes are able to go through these circumstances.
Informative sessions were also held by former athlete Sumera Sattar and current weightlifting champion Inam Butt, briefing the athletes on their rights and how to exercise and protect them.
Special guest Muhammad Tayyab Ikram, Member of the IOC Olympic Unity Commission and Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Hockey Federation, also took advantage of an enriching lecture.
Tayyab shared his extensive history of fighting for athletes’ rights with and with the Olympic movement.
He offered valuable knowledge about athletes coping with diverse scenarios and addressed many main fields of athletics and athletes.
The top brass of the POA and the crowd thanked Tayyab’s tremendous services worldwide for securing the interests of athletes.
Lt. Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan, President of the Pakistan Olympic Association, expressed good wishes and appreciation to all forum participants and guaranteed to conduct several more such events on a regular basis to train the athletes not just physically but psychologically for the challenges ahead.
Lt Gen (retd) Arif also thanked the Commission of Athletes and the speakers for coordinating and making important contributions to the forum.
He also stressed that all stakeholders need to work on a single page to provide Pakistan’s athletes with full opportunities to succeed, not only in sports but also in life, in order to encourage sports in this country.