Karachi’s Street Boxing Club And Why We Need To Promote Other Sports Besides Cricket
Recently I came across the video of a street boxing club based in Karachi’s Allah Wali Colony, run by a former international Pakistani boxer Khawar Deen Afridi. The video wasn’t that surprising as I’ve heard of such boxing clubs in Lyari, but when I tried googling Khawar Deen Afridi’s name, what with him being an international boxer, I found nothing related.
Why is Everything About Cricket?
Well, we all know someone who’s named Afridi and represents Pakistan all over the world. But is cricket the only sports worth playing? Even hockey, the national game of Pakistan, is not given as much importance as cricket. And that says quite a lot about the state of this country. Cricket has basically turned into a synonym of the word ‘sports’ in Pakistan.
Other Sports Deserve Our Attention
Are us Pakistanis only good at one sport? Not quite so. We all have memories of playing football, throw ball, volleyball, tennis, and other such games while growing up. In school, there was always that one student who was so good at the games that everyone thought he/she would one day represent our country internationally. But that’s rarely the case. Because all the sports besides cricket gets neglected in our country.
Why are Sports Important?
Sports play an integral part in empowering the youth of a nation. They teach tolerance, discipline, cooperation, and self-confidence to the players. But the inadequate sports policies have deprived the Pakistani youth of meaningful and healthy activities.
Give These Players A Chance
Coming back to the street boxing club, in the video, you can see how the boys are training on hard stony roads, without as much as a ring and proper equipment. But that doesn’t dampen their spirits. Most of these boxers can be easily qualified for international level games, but they feel compelled to back off as they can’t go any further. The lack of financial backing by the government makes these players give up on their dreams.
Bring Back The Days of Glory
Once a prominent name in many sports, Pakistan now has next to no participation in many major sports. The existing facilities of sports are not up to the mark and do not match the international standards due to the lack of infrastructure. The contribution of local governments to the support and promotion of sports is imperceptible. Sports activities at district levels are not held most of the time due to these financial constraints. Participation of women is also very low, but discussing that would lead to an entirely different topic which can be opened up some other time.
Immediate Action is Required of The Government
There are some players who do manage to reach the international level. But the dreams of many talented players get shattered when they receive no support from the government. This Karachi street boxing club is a breath of fresh air and we need more such advancements on district levels. We need to give our youth the opportunity to participate in other sports besides cricket. We need to promote the talented players and give them opportunities to come forward. Even this boxing club shouldn’t stop here. We should urge our local and national governments to back such initiatives.
Feature Image by Akhtar Soomro / Reuters