SPORTS in Pakistan are in a state of constant decline. Consider the disastrous results at the Beijing Olympics. Except for hockey, three wild cards were awarded in the field of swimming, rifle shooting and athletics. Not surprisingly, our boxers, weight lifters and wrestlers failed to qualify for the events. While according to the coach it was simply the poor match strategy, which was responsible for the defeat in hockey other factors like the absence of recently introduced tactics and modern coaching facilities cannot be overlooked. It is no more the game that was played years back when we used to be champions; rather it has evolved into an altogether new thing. The state of other sports is not much different. But what is rather alarming is that even squash and cricket seem to be fast slipping out of our grip. Pointing fingers at the athletes is only part of the truth; the main culprit is the lack of state patronage for games in the country. The facilities provided to our players pale into insignificance when compared with other countries. Lack of financial support, absence of infrastructure, meagre coaching facilities, scarce chances of international exposure are some of the main stumbling blocks. But another element is the poor way our different sports bodies are run. In most cases it is a bureaucrat or some political appointee ignorant to the dynamics of the game, who normally heads a board. Ex-chairman cash rich PCB Dr Nasim Ashraf and the demise of cricket is a case in point. Such directors are little interested in elevating the game or taking care of the sportsmen for that matter. The players then are left with only one option: move to western countries, hire coaches of their own to be able to make a name in the game. Could then one expect these poverty-stricken, unskilled players to bag some laurels? Our youth looks up to the government to do something.