Naureen Aqueel

Call for city govt assistance to promote campus sports

Posted on: October 1, 2009

Published in Spotlight (class newsletter), October 2009.

The University of Karachi has an ambitious development plan to expand its existing sports facilities and infrastructure to meet the future requirements of its students, but help by the city government would be needed to meet the gap in its financial resources.

This was stated by Abida Shaheen, Director of Physical Education, at the University of Karachi, in an interview.

Roughly around Rs 3million-3.5 million are spent on sports annually, she said. A sum of 2.5 million comes as income from student fees from the faculties of the KU and its affiliated colleges.  “And the gap in income and expenditure is met through compromises on things like office expenditure, etc.”

Abida Shaheen

There is little or no sponsorship available to fund campus sports facilities or events, except for what comes from the Higher Education Commission (HEC), she said. During 2004, the HEC prepared a scheme, ‘Improvement of Sports in the Universities of Pakistan’ costing Rs.27.125 million. The KU received funding for a hockey ground and a fitness centre under this scheme.

Ms Shaheen said the university had plans to build a gymnasium exclusively for female students. Other development projects to augment facilities at the campus include the construction of a synthetic track on the grounds, the laying of an astro turf in place of the muddy or grassy surfaces in the hockey and cricket grounds, the building of new tennis, squash and basketball courts, and cementing the cricket pitch in the Walika ground.   “The Sports department has outlined the plans, now it is for the university to arrange the funds to implement them,” Ms Shaheen said.

Tenders for the construction of a new gymnasium, fitness centre and for the rehabilitation of the cricket ground and squash court have already been approved and issued.

Existing Facilities

The university has one gym, two football grounds, three cricket grounds, one outdoor basketball court, one indoor basketball court, two table tennis tables, two badminton courts in the gym, two tennis courts outdoor for double games, and two squash courts. The existing infrastructure, however, is plagued by neglect and lack of awareness about the facilities among students.

“Many students are unaware of the existence of the second basketball court and cricket ground. In addition to that, existing courts and grounds have problems like uneven surfaces that hinder play, lack of lighting, lack of changing rooms or washrooms, and lack of markings and nettings,” said Farah Anwar, a student at the Department of Physical Education, who worked on a project to survey sports facilities on the campus.

“The grounds are also muddy and lack the astro truf surfacing which has become an essential feature of the modern day sports grounds. Besides, a single basketball court is often put to multi-purpose use for handball and volleyball games,” she observed.

“There is no proper place for Table Tennis and students just put up the tables whenever they want to play. As a result, if one game is being played in a certain area, the other cannot be played at the same time due to lack of space. Furthermore, although the KU has representation at the national level in swimming, it does not have even a single swimming pool on the campus,” she said.

Farah, however, said that her survey revealed that certain facilities which were available were not being utilized due to lack of awareness among the students. For instance, the gymnasium has facilities for gymnastics, yet very few students are aware of this.

“My point of view is that facilities are there but there is no proper use of them,” she said. “Students want to play, but they have no trainers.”

Another area which needs improvement is maintenance. Many existing facilities are awaiting renovation and proper maintenance. Out-of-date, inefficient and low quality facilities just give students an excuse not to participate in sports.  Plans for the renovation of the existing gymnasium, which was built in 1962, have also been announced many times, but students have complained that nothing concrete has been done to implement them.

“There is no reason why students will not participate if they get proper facilities, infrastructure and training,” Farah added.


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