Mehwish Hayat paid a surprise visit to the Abdul Sattar Hockey Stadium on Friday in order to lend support and raise her voice for the country’s national sport. The stadium was abuzz with the ongoing matches of the National Hockey Championship, which Hayat felt was extremely neglected.
Having found out about the conditions of the stadium through a tweet, Hayat talked about how the focus needs to be shifted towards hockey along with cricket, as it is our national sport. “Unfortunately, the state of the stadium and everything is all very disheartening, although the players have been playing wonderfully. There is a passion, but there is no audience, there’s nobody here. I thought the stadium would be full of people,” she said.
“We are too much focused on cricket. Hockey needs our focus as well. It is very important that sponsors step up and the government also needs to work on it,” she added.
She further narrated all the accolades national hockey has won throughout the years, and how it is now suffering miserably due to neglect. “We must realise that we have won more titles in hockey than in cricket. We have won four World Cups and three Olympic titles, as well as gold medals,” she said.
“Once we were number one in hockey, but our current rank is number 17, which is the lowest. We are now even struggling to qualify for the Olympics. I believe that government must take drastic steps to revive hockey in Pakistan,” she added.
Pinpointing the cause to how the media is failing to offer any coverage to hockey, Hayat urged everyone to play their part in reviving it. “I am shocked that our national-level tournament is taking place but the national television is not airing it. Social media can help lift this sport but it is imperative that the government and sponsors pitch in too,” she said.
“I hope that my being here promotes this and it leads to somewhere. Our national sport needs to be saved. Like our cinema and art represents us, our sports does the same. Hockey being our national sports needs our attention,” she added.
On a concluding note, the actress requested the Prime Minister to pay attention to the matter and to take proper measures to revive the neglected sport. “I request our respectable Prime Minister Imran Khan to look into this. I know that a lot of areas need [his attention] but hockey is our national sport and we need to save it,” she said.