ISLAMABAD: With 100 days to go until the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, organizers have convened an online meeting of around 70 country Olympic associations on April 22 to finalize quotas and related formalities for each participating nation.
‘The News’ has learned from well-placed sources that the meeting has been called to determine the overall strength of each country’s contingent due to compete in the Birmingham Games.
The organizers have established five residences for the thousands of athletes and officials who come to the Games. These included four villages as well as a mega hotel.
“Organizers have established five residences for the thousands of athletes and officials who will be competing at the Games. The meeting was called to share the strength of the contingent that each country is expected to field at the Games. This online meeting is all the more important given the limited number of places available in the villages and in a designated hotel. The meeting should also give a final form to the force related to the events of each participating country,” an official from the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) said.
The meeting is also important in the wake of recent WADA rules where even stricter measures are proposed for doping control. The POA has already decided that all athletes drawn to participate in the Birmingham Games will have to undergo doping tests before the contingent leaves for the UK.
“The meeting convened on April 22 is also important to share with member countries the importance of doping controls and WADA’s instructions and process to be followed during spot checks. The implications of failing doping tests will also be communicated to participating countries.
Pakistan is to field a strong contingent of 110 members for the Birmingham Games from July 28. Pakistan is set to compete in 14 disciplines including two para events (para athletics and para table tennis) during the 13-day event.
Men’s hockey will have the strongest presence at the Games for Pakistan with a 24-man squad that would include 18 players and six officials. Pakistani hockey has never won gold at the Games, the closest was at the 2006 Games in Melbourne where Pakistan were narrowly beaten by Australia for gold.
The Pakistan women’s cricket team, gold medalists at the 2012 Asian Games, will also take part in the Birmingham event with a contingent of 20 members, including 15 players and five officials. Pakistan have never won a medal in the women’s cricket event at the Games and again the chances of winning a medal are low, especially with Australia, England, India, South Africa and New Zealand.
Wrestling was by far the most successful discipline for Pakistan at the Games. Pakistan have won 21 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals in wrestling so far and in Birmingham the green shirts are eyeing a few more with the presence of six top wrestlers.
Arshad Nadeem expects a javelin throw medal in Birmingham. No less than 47 male athletes and 28 female athletes are expected to represent Pakistan in Birmingham.