By Afzal Javed, WEEKLY PULSE MAGAZINE, September 16, 2013
Indonesia will hold the third Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG) in Palembang from September 22 to October 1 this year as 55 countries under the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will compete in this mega event and Pakistan’s 75-member contingent of athletes and officials will also appear in six disciplines of the 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games.
Participants will compete in 13 sports such as Athletics, Swimming, Archery, Badminton, Basketball, Football, Karate, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball Indoor, Volleyball Beach, Wushu and Weightlifting but Pakistani contingent will take part in athletics, basketball, badminton, volleyball, karate and wushu events.
The first Islamic Solidarity Games was held in 2005 in Saudi Arabia. The second event was cancelled after it had been originally scheduled to take place in Tehran in October 2009
It is the latest twist in the Indonesia efforts to host the games, which have been delayed by months and hit by a strike of construction workers.
The event, which brings together athletes from member countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, was originally scheduled to be held in April at Pekanbaru on Sumatra Island. But it was postponed after construction workers shut down the main stadium in protest at unpaid salaries, and the local governor could do little to help as he was caught up in corruption scandals.
Officials then announced the games would instead be held in the capital Jakarta from September 22 to October 1. But with less than two months to go, the event has been moved yet again — this time to Palembang, a city on Sumatra that was co-host with Jakarta of the Southeast Asian Games in November 2011.
Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) president Maj Gen (retd) M Akram Sahi said that Pakistani contingent comprising 50 athletes, 15 officials and five headquarters officials would take part in the event. He said it was going to be a good experience for Pakistan players to exhibit their prowess in the meet of Islamic countries which would foster brotherhood and unity among the Muslim world.
The POA chief said that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had started communication with them through emails and letters and it was hoped that things would improve between the two in due course of time. “It is a good omen that deadlock has been broken and we will be cooperating with the games’ ruling body in whatsoever matter they need our feedback,” he added.
To a query, he replied: “The IOC will not impose sanctions on Pakistan and if something happens in any manner, its responsibility will be on Lt Gen (retd) Syed Arif Hasan who is heading a rival faction of the POA. As per a decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan of May 8, 2012, Arif Hasan has been declared ineligible to work as POA chief for being in third successive term which was in violation of national sports policy,” he said.
The POA president pointed out that they did not have differences with the rival faction and expected them to accept the court verdict. “I am ready to sit with them to resolve this issue which is being highlighted by Arif Hasan at the highest sports forums at international level. Our doors are open to everyone and we are even ready for a dialogue with Arif Hasan and ready to hold the fresh elections of the POA in the larger interest of sports in Pakistan,” he added.
Gen Sahi said land of law was always superior and it was hoped that the IOC would respect the decisions of apex courts of Pakistan before taking any disciplinary action against the country. “Take the example of Indian Olympic Association, which was suspended by the IOC and the matter has not yet been resolved and suspension of countries by the IOC on one pretext to another is based on certain facts.”
He said they would approach Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) regarding the seat allocated to Arif Hasan for vice president. “If his election is by name then we will let him continue, otherwise, we will request them to allocate that slot to us.”
On the other hand Pakistan Football Federation General Secretary Ahmad Yar Khan Lodhi said that the Pakistan Football Team will not be taking part in the Islamic Solidarity Games, scheduled in Palembang, Indonesia from this month.
The opening of the 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games in Palembang, South Sumatra, is ready to held, because the organizing committee has been preparing for a successful that sports feast for a number of Islamic states.
President of Indonesia Republic Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will open the 3rd Islamic Solidarity Games in Palembang, September 22th 2013 officially.