File photo Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Pakistan's top women tennis players recently wrote a letter to the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) demanding a raise in the prize money given to them in national tournaments.
Prominent women sportspersons in Pakistan have demanded better financial incentives and more exposure at the domestic and international level on par with men.
In a first of its kind development, Pakistan's top women tennis players recently wrote a letter to the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) demanding a raise in the prize money given to them in national tournaments.
"How can we continue to play tennis if the women's tournaments' prize money is kept low," the letter said.
The letter sent to the PTF President was signed by the likes of Ushna Suhail, Isha Jawad, Mansha Babar, Shamza Naz, Sara Mehboob, Mehak Khokhar, Sara Mansoor and Aleena Aftab.
These players said, in the letter, that they were not getting a conducive environment to play and improve their performance.
"Tennis is the world's most expensive sport. First of all, we don't have a conducive environment to play tennis in the country, secondly no female player has a future in the sport," the letter said.
In a related development, a senior player of the Pakistan women's cricket team, Javaria Khan has also called for the launch of a T20 league for women in the country on the lines of the Pakistan Super League.
"The need of the hour is to have a PSL for women as this will not only allow women players to play alongside foreign players but also improve their skills tremendously," she said.
"It will also pave the way for new talent to come through."
Javaria also spoke about the financial benefits that will stem from the league.
"Girls who play or want to play cricket in Pakistan need to be given increased financial benefits to make it a worthy profession for them," she said.
Kiran Khan, Pakistan's top female swimmer, backed the calls for female athletes to get a better environment to compete and an increase in financial benefits for them.
"In sports apart from cricket, everything is done at the amateur level for female athletes, be it athletics, tennis, table tennis, swimming, hockey or football," she said.
Kiran, who has represented Pakistan in the Beijing Olympic Games, said that conducive environment and financial package need to be approved by the government which will encourage women to take up sports and earn from it.
"Women's sports at the club, district and national levels is given no importance as such," she said.
Hajra Khan, who is Pakistan's most recognised football player, said women in urban and even rural areas want to play sports but are discouraged by their families because the sports structure for women was not as organised as for men.