Stories about sports

Can a woman in Pakistan play sports without being sexually harassed?

One of the biggest impediments to women participating, or being allowed to participate, in any form of sports in Pakistan is that of sexual harassment. Just yesterday, we all learned about the tragic demise of Haleema Rafiq, the young and talented 17-year-old cricketer. She was one of five girls who had the courage to raise her voice by accusing the Multan Cricket Ground of several instances of sexual harassment that took place last year. However, rather than taking her accusations seriously and wasting no time in conducting a serious investigation, Rafiq’s cry for help fell upon deaf ears. Her case ...

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Four ways Pakistani cricket is like Argentinian football

I was barely six-years-old when Diego Maradona’s individual brilliance almost singlehandedly won the World Cup for Argentina in Mexico. For a boy watching the event with his sports crazy family, the event was electric, with the iconic images of Maradona dancing through the opposition, and eventually lifting the trophy, forever imprinted in my brain. Equally iconic were the images of Maradona crying four years later, after his side was cruelly penalised by the referee in the final against West Germany. Even later, when Maradona shed tears after struggling with substance abuse, I shared his pain, and supported my hero, ignoring the fact that he ...

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Parkour boys of Quetta: Fighting fear… like a boss

I didn’t really know what parkour was, until I came across a recent article about some boys from Quetta’s Hazara town who practise this activity. I had come across references to free running (a more acrobatic version of parkour) on television previously, but since I’m the kind of old soul who believes that doing anything which might result in a serious injury is a cry for attention, I never gave it any. It had an aura of belonging to the seedy world of graffiti, tattoos, drugs and gangs and I am, as I mentioned earlier, an old soul. After reading the article and watching ...

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Anti-FIFA graffiti in Brazil: Could Pakistan ever protest against cricket?

The first time the World Cup caught my interest was when the official theme song was being selected. The competition between Shakira, J-lo and Pitbull was worth following because no one could predict what the amazing musicians could have up their sleeves. Although I was utterly disappointed, when Pitbull and J-lo released their unimpressive and clichéd We Are One (Ole Ola) – which was eventually selected as the theme song of the tournament – Shakira’s powerful and colourful LaLaLa Brazil 2014 was refreshing enough. I still have it on my cell-phone. On repeat, might I add. This time, my attention was caught by the FIFA World Cup ...

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FIFA World Cup 2014: Pakistani footballs kicking it in Brazil

Although I like hockey and cricket a lot more than football, sometimes I wish I didn’t. Football fans have proven time and again how crazy, passionate and involved they are when it comes to their love for the game. I guess one of the major reasons why I, and many other Pakistanis like myself, are not so interested in football is because we do not have a national team that does well during world cups and brings back trophies. Pakistan ranks 159th in the FIFA’s World Ranking, which is a dismally low level, but with the recent success of the Pakistani team at the Street Child ...

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What’s common between Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abdus Salam and Abdul Khaliq?

They were never appreciated in Pakistan. We are a profoundly aptitudinal nation and have produced the finest people in all fields of life, whether it is sports, music or science. Take cricket for example. We have seen the likes of Hanif Muhammad, Zaheer Abbas, Wasim Akram, Sarfraz Nawaz, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Shoaib Akhtar, Inzamamul Haq and many other legends. Moving on to hockey, we have had some of the best players in the world and we are the only nation that won the hockey World Cup title four times. Out of the 10 medals Pakistan has won in the Olympics, we won three in hockey. Sohail Abbas ...

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Give our cricketers opportunities before we lose them to other countries!

I remember how Raziq Khan was the best cricketer in our village 10 years ago. Whenever he came to the pitch, everyone in the crowd would stand up in excitement and wait for him to play his mind-blowing shots. His fans would chant “One more six, One more six”, egging Raziq on to play with all his might and surely, whenever the time came for him to perform, he never disappointed his fans. He was famous for his phenomenal batting and would hammer the bowlers by hitting balls to all corners of the ground mercilessly. There was a famous story ...

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Governments should encourage sports, not sports festivals

While the world develops sports through long term planning and investment, in Pakistan, it is still stuck within an outdated system – a system where everything is done to boost the government’s reputation, much like a communist state. This system has become more evident nowadays, with provincial governments taking it to next level to prop up their image and use sports as a propaganda tool. Sport, like many other important issues of this country – health and education, for instance – have been made provincial subjects under the landmark 18th Amendment. Since then onwards, sports has seen a steady decline at national level ...

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Under-16 Rugby World cup: Open your eyes Pakistan, talent for sports other than cricket exist!

Pakistanis are quite cricket crazy and of course, hockey enjoys some fan following, being the national sport. In recent years, even football has made forays into the Pakistani sporting arena. However, bring up rugby and you will still get blank looks from most Pakistanis. In Pakistan, not too many people are familiar with the sport of rugby in spite of the fact that this sport has many enthusiasts all over the world. But things seem to be changing gradually. For the first time ever, nine rugby players from a private school’s rugby team in Faisalabad have been chosen to represent Pakistan in the under-16 Rugby World Cup this month. ...

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Women in sports: What Lala might not know

A friend of mine shared a clip on Facebook of a journalist asking Shahid Afridi his views on the development of a girls’ cricket camp in Peshawar (something the journalist said he felt proud of) and Afridi replied that Pathan girls are best at cooking food and should stick to that. This statement did not come as a shock to me. Other than being aware of Afridi’s record of having passed ludicrous remarks about us, Indian Hindus, not being large-hearted enough, which was slammed by many rational Pakistanis, it reminded me of a scene from the Bollywood movie Chak de India starring Shahrukh Khan. It showed ...

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