PTF’s lax attitude is Aisam’s Olympic loss

Published: July 23, 2012
Email

PTF is stuck with having to explain themselves, and issuing a statement saying they’ll lodge a protest with the ITF regarding Aisam being passed over. DESIGN: EMA ANIS/ERUM SHAIKH

“It’s great Pakistani sprinters and swimmers are going to the Olympics. I wish Aisam could have made it too,” a friend had lamented about Aisamul Haq Qureshi’s miss on the tennis wild card entry.

It’s true; while sprinters, swimmers, shooters and our glory-faded hockey team still get a chance to perform at the Olympics, for Aisam, probably the most successful Pakistani athlete in individual sport this year, maybe the saying “hard work always pays” doesn’t hold true.

I’ve spoken to Aisam regularly regarding different tournaments in his quest to book a place in London. Having seen firsthand the effort he put in, to make it to the prestigious top 10 Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) doubles rankings, I can say I was one of the people who was most disappointed when I got to know that both Aisam’s current partner Jean-Julian Rojer and former Indian partner Rohan Bopanna made it to the Olympics on wild cards, but Pakistan’s own tennis star didn’t.

He was up for it since December, when he told me that after playing the London Masters as the world’s fifth best team along with Bopanna, his aim was to become the first Pakistani to play at the Olympics tennis event.

It was Pakistan’s only chance. Aisam is running out of time because he’s likely to lose his form in a year or two, and there’s no Pakistani player to replace him in the international circuit. Since Bopanna parted ways with him in January, Aisam teamed up with Rojer – but his rankings slumped due to a string of defeats.

“I just wish now that the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) could play a crucial role for me. I have done everything I could,”

Aisam told me the last time I spoke to him about the wild card entry.

I never had the nerve to call him back after this, because the decision that came from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) was a painful one.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Olympics Association couldn’t really help Aisam either, because tennis is run by a separate body internationally and the Olympic association cannot influence their decision. PTF, on the other hand, turned out to be too slow with pursuing ITF.

Now, PTF is stuck with having to explain themselves, and issuing a statement saying they’ll lodge a protest with the ITF regarding Aisam being passed over.

It is a perfect example of how incompetent federations can bring hard working athletes down.

Read more by Natasha here.

natasha.raheel

Natasha Raheel

A Karachi-based sports reporter for The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.