Queen Baton of Commonwealth Games to showcase positive image of Pakistan; President POA

LAHORE: President, Pakistan Olympic Association, Lt Gen Retd Syed Asif Hasan said on Wednesday that the Queen Baton of the Commonwealth Games celebrations in Pakistan will portray a soft image of the country.

“Queen Baton will be arriving here in Pakistan on September 29 from Cyprus and will remain in the country for four days and its presence will help in developing a positive image of the country ideal for all kind of international sports events and activities”,

He told a news conference here in the presence of Secretary POA, Mohammad Khalid Mahmood and other officials of the national Olympic committee. Commonwealth Games will be held from April 4 to 11 at Gold Cost, Australia.

Gen Arif said POA has arranged a number of programmes to mark the arrival and stay of Queen Baton in the provincial metropolis which is a historic moment in country’s sports.

“Queen baton relay is an integral part of the Commonwealth Games and it travels through all the participating countries and its historic journey commenced from Buckingham palace London March this year”, he said adding “ From Pakistan Baton will leave for India”.

Highlighting the salient features of the Queen baton relay ceremony, POA Chief said a four member team carrying the baton will be received at Allama Iqbal Airport Lahore.

“It’s welcome ceremony will be held on the same day (September 29) at a local hotel and the baton will be handed over to me”, he said adding “On October 2 the baton will be brought to famous Hazuri Bagh Lahore in front of Lahore fort for the replay programme which will be attended by former Olympians, legends of Pakistan sports”.

Gen Arif said POA is laying special emphasis on highlighting the importance of Queen baton among youth and that is why it has arranged events among two selected schools.

He said Pakistan sportsmen have won medals in previous editions of the Games and baton programme in schools will help in glorifying the achievements of the home stalwarts besides highlighting the history of the Games.

Answering a question he said it is very difficult to predict at this stage that how many medals Pakistan is likely to win in the games. “We have not yet started our preparations for the mega event, Government has not yet earmarked funds for the training and grooming of the our sportsmen, where as other countries in the Asia including India have allocated huge funds for the participation of its contingent in the Games”.

POA chief said in the prevailing circumstances in the national sports expecting medals at commonwealth games is not a fair thought given the facts that institutions related to sports in Pakistan have not taken all the stakeholders into confidence to launch collective efforts for the cause of the sports.