Gen Arif steps down as president of Pakistan Olympic Association

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Lt Gen (retd) Syed Arif Hasan has officially resigned from his role as the president of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) citing health concerns.

Confirming his decision, Arif Hasan expressed the necessity to step down from his position, citing health issues as the primary factor. In a widely circulated letter to the Executive Committee POA, Arif Hasan wrote that he didn’t take the decision of stepping down lightly. He confirmed from USA about authenticity of his resignation letter. “Totally legit,” Arif Hasan said.

The resignation is set to take effect on January 1, 2024, as announced by Arif Hasan. This development marks the end of his longstanding association with the POA. Having served as the president for an impressive 19 years, the POA boss has been a prominent figure in the Pakistani sports community. He was initially elected to the position in March 2004, and his tenure has seen various developments and achievements.

“It is borne out of the necessity to balance my health and well-being with the demands of leading such a dynamic and impactful organisation. Hope you will understand and respect this decision of mine,” he mentioned in the letter.

“Leading POA has been an enriching experience. The journey I had embarked upon has not only led to significant milestones for the Association but has also, on a personal level, been source of contentment and fulfilment for me. I want to express my utmost gratitude for the support I have received from all of you during my time at POA,” he added.

“I cherish the relationships I have formed with my colleagues. All of you have been a source of strength for me and together we have been able to raise POA to the level of professionalism that has been acknowledged internationally. Your honest, forthright and professional opinions always mattered a great deal to me and always led to well considered collective decisions being taken,” he maintained.

“My heartfelt thanks also to every member of the POA Secretariat, whose dedication and skill transformed challenges into successes. Your commitment has been the backbone of our success and I am deeply appreciative of the support and solidarity that have been extended to me throughout my tenure. I never found myself wanting for lack of secretarial support.

“I assure you that I earnestly desire a smooth transition to ensure the continuity of our excellent work. It is my sincere wish that POA continues to thrive and excel, building on the solid foundation we have established together.

“I am deeply thankful for the trust that was placed in me and for the opportunity to lead the Olympic Movement of Pakistan. I step down with a sense of accomplishment and a heart full of gratitude, confident in POA’s bright future and continued success as per its mandate,” Arif Hasan concluded by extending his warmest wishes for success in the future.

Gen (retd) Arif Hassan, who was first named as head of organising committee of South Asian Games in 2002 was first elected to the office of POA in 2004. He was then elected for next four consecutive terms. He was usually criticised by politicians and fans for Pakistan’s medals drought in Olympics. Most recently, a senior PMLN leader Ahsan Iqbal posted a critical post on social media targeting Arif Hassan.

However, the POA and Arif Hassan had always maintained that it was PSB’s job to provide infrastructure and training facilities to athletes while POA was only a representative organisation in International Olympic Committee (IOC) on behalf of Pakistani sports bodies.

Meanwhile, POA’s secretary Khalid Mehmood also confirmed about Arif Hasan’s resignation on medical grounds. Following Arif Hasan’s resignation, the POA’s executive committee is now likely to appoint an interim president till the next elections. The sources believe that the next elections to elect a new president POA will be held only after the Paris Olympics 2024.

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