ISLAMABAD: “the youth are the asset of the country and should help the government in building the true image of Islam, which is peace and progress. This is stated by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani last night while awarding over Rs. 20 million worth of cash prizes to the Pakistani gold medalist footballers and other medal winners of 10th South Asian Games. Pakistan U23 outfit clinched the gold on 26 August 2006 when a brilliant goal on free-kick by Nowshera-born Adeel Ahmed stunned the Sri Lankans as Pakistan became the most successful team of South Asian Games’s soccer history by recording their fourth gold. Pakistan earned their fourth triumph by beating Sri Lanka 1-0 in the final at Sugathadasa Outdoor Stadium, Colombo.
The long overdue Award Ceremony became possible when Federal Minister for Sports, Najamud Din Khan and Federal Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Muhammad Ashraf Khan, issued directions in this behalf. Also present on this occasion were Pakistan Sports Board (PSB)’s Director General Muhammad Anwar Khan, PFF Secretary General Lt.Col ® Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi, PFF Women Wing Chairperson Robina Irfan.
Yousaf urged the youth to build Pakistan as a peace-loving, progressive country and also stressed the need for sportsman spirit in politics. The Prime Minister made these remarks while distributing over Rs. 2.2 million worth of cash prizes among medal winners of Colombo’s biennial Games held August 18-28, 2006.
He pledged full government support for establishing Sports Academies around the country and to help in boosting sports infrastructure for even better results in international competitions. “We will also help in further boosting and developing sports infrastructure around the country. He also assured of providing regular jobs to the Sportspersons of the country so that they could concentrate on their Training,” said Yousuf.
Besides winning 41 gold’s, the 376-strong Pakistan contingent also captured 43 silver and 72 bronze medals during the eight-nation South Asian Games. Cash prizes of Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 15,000 each were awarded for winning gold, silver and bronze medals respectively in the team sports.
Pakistani team was comprised of Muhammad Essa (Captain), Adeel Ahmed (Vice Captain), Mahmood Ahmed, Muhammad Shahzad, Naveed Akram, Muhammad Irfan, Yasir Sabir, Samar Ishaq, Muhammad Imran, Mubashar Hussain, Abdul Aziz, Abbas Ali, Muhammad Shahid, Saeed Ahmed, Zahid Hameed, Shahid Ahmed, Shakir Lashari, Nasrullah Khan, Muhammad Rasool, Muhammad Qasim. The officials were Muhammad Irfan Khan Niazi (Manager), Salman Ahmed Sharida (Coach), Tariq Ibrahim (Assistant Coach) and Muhammad Afzal ( Goal-keeping Coach).-SANA