On the eve of August 8, Pakistanis beamed with delight and pride as our athletes beat the odds and managed to set new records for the country in the Commonwealth Games 2022. Pakistan’s tally of medals in the Games mounted to eight, with two golds—won by weightlifter Nooh Dastagir Butt and javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem.

The brilliant men and women partaking in the Games have done us proud regardless of the many stumbling blocks and hurdles that come with being a Pakistani athlete. However, while we celebrate, we must also identify the lessons to be learnt from these Games. Time and time again, our athletes have overcome their disadvantaged circumstances to perform at the international level and represent their country; this is a point of reflection for the government as to why our athletes have to face much more significant challenges than their counterparts in other countries.

There is inadequate funding for athletes; unlike sports industries in other countries, there are no proper or well-funded training programmes and compensation mechanisms through which ordinary sportsmen can support themselves while preparing for these mega-international competitions. The Pakistan Sports Board may have been restructured in the past year, but its operations and management still require a lot of improvement.

It would not be wrong to say sportsmanship is integral to our national spirit and pride. However, while our athletes are holding up their part of the commitment, this relationship needs to be from both sides; the government must also pay back the determination and ardour of our athletes. The state needs to pick up the slack and make sure that our sportsmen are paid well for their services. If there is an underrepresentation of Pakistani achievements on the world stage for sports, it is because of a lack of governmental support and funds. With a world record now in Arshad Nadeem’s sights, this support is needed more than ever.