LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday allowed Pakistan contingent to take part in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games starting in Scotland from July 23. Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan, while hearing a petition moved by parallel and unlawful Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) headed by retired Major General Muhammad Akram Sahi, on July 8 had suspended two Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) letters that recognised the POA headed by Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan as the legitimate National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Pakistan. After the court ruling, many considered that Pakistan would not be able to send the national contingent to the Commonwealth Games. The Sahi Group also misinterpreted the court order in the national media with mala-fide intention. However, the PSB moved an application two days back seeking permission to send the Pakistan contingent to Glasgow. On July 18 (yesterday), the date of hearing, Justice Khalid Mahmood was not available and Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh heard the case in his place.
Justice Abid said the group of athletes picked to participate in next week’s Commonwealth Games were free to attend the event. The judge held that the stay order earlier issued did not hit the participation of the players. “The stay was against the PSB recognising POA headed by Arif Hasan as the legitimate NOC Pakistan. The judge directed the PSB to take steps for the participation of the Pakistan players in the Commonwealth Games. The PSB counsel informed the judge that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognised Arif Hassan as the legitimate and constitutional president of the POA.
“A 62-member squad will leave for Scotland to feature in the 20th Commonwealth Games on Monday and we got a final go ahead,” PSB director general Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera told Daily Times. The Games conclude on August 3. Pakistan will participate in eight sports - badminton, boxing, gymnastics, shooting, swimming, table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling. Pakistan has competed in 11 of the 19 previous Commonwealth Games, from 1954. Pakistan’s most successful Games have been the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, where it was 4th in the overall rankings by winning eight gold medals.
Pakistan’s most successful sport in the Games has been wrestling where they won 37 medals, 20 of which have been gold. Pakistan won two gold medals in wrestling, one silver (also in wrestling) and two bronze medals in boxing at the last Games held in New Delhi in 2010. Field Hockey, Pakistan’s national game, will be missing in this Games as the country’s federation failed to send its entry in time because of the ongoing tussle between the factions of the POA. Pakistan’s main hopes will again be on wrestlers Azhar Hussain and Muhammad Inam. Hussain won a gold and a silver while Inam won a gold in New Delhi.
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