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LAHORE: Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib said on Sunday that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is spending Rs 1 billion on the establishments of 12 “sports academies” and one “high-performance academy” which will train talented sportsmen for national and international tournaments.

“According to the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who himself a sportsman, the government is keen to promote sports for which numerous playgrounds and sports centres would be established across the country,” the minister said while speaking at a function of Kamyab Jawan Sports Drive Programme here. He was accompanied by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar.

The function was jointly organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) in connection with the finale Kamyab Jawan National Kabaddi Championship 2022.

Under the Kamyab Jawan Sports Drive Programme, the minister said the government had devised a comprehensive strategy regarding promotion of talent from the grassroots level. He said that a talent hunt drive has been initiated across the country under which seasoned sportspersons would personally go to the field and pick up the “talented people”, who will later receive trainings from these academies.

Farrukh said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government neglected sports by giving away laptops and yellow and green cabs (Taxies) during its tenure, but the PTI government was paying “due attention” to the subject. “Only 300 playgrounds were established in Punjab during the last 70 years, but the PTI government, during its three years in power, increased the ration by 100 percent and now there are more than 600 playgrounds in the province,” he claimed and pledged that more playgrounds would be made available to the masses.

The state minister further said that two high-performance cricket academies – one in Sialkot and the other in Faisalabad – were also being established. Similarly, two high-performance academies each of squash and hockey are also in the offing, he added.

“No government in the past ever tried to engage public, particularly youth, in sports but when the PTI came to power it allocated Rs 6 billion to the Punjab government for the promotion of sports,” he said and emphasized that sports prepare people for challenges rather than schemes like laptops or cabs.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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