KARACHI – Wapda, which emerged as the new powerhouse of sports in Pakistan replacing Pakistan Army at the 32nd National Games that concluded at Lahore on Friday, had their celebration dampened when they were not handed the coveted Quaide Azam Trophy given to the best team of the Games as the trophy was missing.

Winter rains forced the organisers to cut short closing ceremonies and shift the prize distribution indoors.  According to information gathered here Friday and confirmed by Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) officials Wapda which ended the Games with record breaking medal tally that could not be beaten in future was given an alternate trophy because the original trophy was with Pakistan Army Sports Directorate and despite many reminders it did not hand it over to the POA which is the owner of the trophy.

In the April of 1948 when Quaide Azam M Ali Jinnah inaugurated the first National Games at the Polo Ground located adjacent to former Governor General residence where the Quaid resided being the first GG of Pakistan, the founder of the nation had personally donated the trophy inscribed with his name. Punjab won that trophy and later on Pakistan Army had won it without being challenged ever until the 2012 National Games when Wapda emerged as the rightful owner of the trophy.

The POA has sent a number of letters to Army to submit it with the POA office so that when the closing of the 32nd Games occur it could be given to the winning team. Army boycotted the games claiming that both the POA and Punjab Olympic Association were not legal bodies after the Supreme Court’s order of on term policy of the Pakistan Sports Board did not comply with the POA request and handed over the trophy.

According to an official of the POA, the Pakistan Army Sports Directorate refused to return the trophy to the POA instead they have intimated that it is government property and that if the POA wants it back, they should approach the government.  The official said the shield which had been presented to every winner since the 1948 National Games, was donated by the Quaid during the First National Games and that too from his ‘personal’ purse and not the government of Pakistan funds - and this when he was the Patron-in-Chief of the Pakistan Olympic Association.

In every Games, the winner was awarded this trophy, and it had a pride of place in its trophy cabinet. Wapda had ship load of sports trophies in its shelf but no trophy would match the aura and importance as would the Quaid Azam Shield and the deserving winner of the 2012 Games, shall not be able to display it in the office.

The POA, he said, could take genuine pride on hosting 32nd National Games 2012 despite denial of facilities and finances that make these the first such event that the Olympic family has organised on its own. “For too long we had remained looking for crutches of financial and other support. It was mostly denied to us, or at best given either condescendingly or grudgingly,” he said and added: “The POA and the PbOA made the critical decision that we were going to hold the Games come what may, we liberated ourselves from the yoke that had pinned us down.” At the conclusion, the POA and the PbOA combines to give a big hand to the Police, for providing excellent security in a tough environment, and the traffic wardens for guiding us to our destinations through choked and clogged arteries.  The POA and PbOA also acknowledge with gratitude the role of the media in the success of these Games and the projection of the athletes.