Doing sports better “our Footballs have reached FIFA World Cup, its time we make our footballers reach there too.” Pakistan also has tremendous talent; despite the lack of facilities and opportunities, our athletes have outperformed tough competitors.
These views were expressed during a webinar conducted by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) on Sports and Society in Islamabad.
The speakers included Dr. Ameer Ali Abro from the University of Sindh, Mr. Nasrullah Rana, a fitness coach and expert of the Pakistan Strength and Conditioning Association, and MR. Shan Muhammad Sham represented Pakistan’s national karate team from 1999 to 2004 and was the coach of the Pakistan Wada Karate team.
Accordingly to the Press Release issued from the PIDE, the main theme of the discussion was Pakistani Society’s mindset towards health, fitness, and sports. We as a society are not conscious of preventive health measures, and neither do we appreciate the importance of physical health. In the modern world, where Technology has replaced and shaped many things, one of them is a lack of physical activity.
From pizza delivery to shopping, every aspect of our life is influenced by Technology. But as much as Technology has brought positives, it has also brought with it some unwanted side effects. The major one of those is that e-entertainment through gadgets has, in a way, replaced physical sports.
There was a time that the young school boys used to get their badminton racket or cricket bat and ball at every opportunity they got. Street cricket and street footballs were a common sight in the evening. However, now that physical activity has been replaced by Pub-g, one doesn’t have to gout for food but can order it through apps; even doctors are available for online services.
While Technology might be a factor, the Pakistani Society’s mindset has been responsible for the lack of attention toward physical fitness. Nasrullah Rana deliberated in detail on the mindset of the Parents as he had experienced during his career as a coach. “parents think that there is a tradeoff between physical health and academics” was a complaint he often has to deal with as a coach.
Rana emphasized the importance of sports in maintaining physical, mental, and cognitive health. Sports are even used as a therapeutic practice in some countries. The veteran coach stressed the importance of raising awareness among parents and school administration about the importance of sports.
Carrying the curative aspect of sports further, Dr. Ameer Ali Abro presented his research on the subject of sports and Society. Dr. Abro’s study focused on sports being used as a technique to counter extremism, and it had an effect of uniting diverse groups and being a promoter of Tolerance.
The professor talked at length about the positive impact of sports on youth. He reported the findings of his study that sports could be used as a tool to bring unity to a heterogeneous and diverse Society.
However, athletics is a profession. A professional athlete has to pass through many barriers before he enters the field to practice. Therefore, the opportunity cost for the athlete is very high. This warrants research that can make us discover ways to help our athletes. The karate coach said this from his personal experience s an athlete and a coach in the field.
The webinar ended with final comments by Fida Muhammad Khan from the PIDE School of Social Sciences, saying that Pakistan has tremendous talent, and our athletes outperformed tough competitors despite the lack of facilities and opportunities. We, as research institutions, should find ways to solve the problems of the sports industry in the country. Our football has reached FIFA; its time that we as s research institution try to find a solution that how will our footballers reach FIFA world cup