Lahore: The Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has allocated 50 per cent stipends for athletics out of 120 total stipends under WAPDA Endowment Fund for Sports (WEFS), as athletics is called the mother of all sports. Previously, athletics quota in WEFS was 12 per cent only. Under new scheme, the number of stipends in athletics would be divided equally between boys and girls to encourage young girls to participate in sports.
These decisions were taken in a meeting of WEFS Board, presided over by WAPDA Chairman Zafar Mahmood, who is also WEFS Chairman. The meeting was also attended by WEFS Board Chief Executive Officer Amer Ahmad and Company Secretary Shafqat Rana.
It is pertinent to mention that WAPDA established WEFS in 2010 in fulfillment of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) to arrange regular financing sources for providing sports facilities to the youth to improve medal position of Pakistan in international competitions. This scheme has been very successful and youngsters from previous three inductions have already shown their mettle by winning top positions in national and international competitions.
The WEFS Board meeting also approved selection criteria for athletics and other sports for new inductions. Subsequent to the registration process, a fitness test will be conducted in 10 different cities of Pakistan namely Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar to facilitate the applicants, followed by the trial in the respective sports at WAPDA Sports Complex Lahore and medical test of the qualified players.
The selected youngsters will be imparted training and coaching by WAPDA Sports Board in or near to their hometown. In addition, Rs.5000 per month scholarship will also be awarded to them from WEFS for extra diet and education. The selected players can avail the facilities under WEFS till they become 18 years of age subject to their bi-annual performance evaluation at Lahore against the set standards.
This scheme will continue to induct the Athletics/Sports persons every year. WAPDA has also sent invitation letters to the Provincial Education Secretaries in order to attract talent from schools as well.