LAHORE: The first day of the inaugural Athletes Forum 2020 Pakistan concluded here on Saturday. The participants of the two-day forum witnessed a message of International Olympic Association President Thomas Bach, who was delighted on the organisation of athlete-centric forum. He congratulated the National Olympic Committee Pakistan Athletes Commission for the historic gathering of athletes. In his message, he said: “Athletes are the heart of our Olympic community.” He appreciated the Pakistan Olympic Association for taking the lead in communicating about the implications of Athletes Declaration. Bach admired the athletes of Pakistan for sending a strong message of confidence and optimism from Pakistan to the world about sports and facing challenges in life. The participants expressed their gratitude to IOC President Bach for sharing his message with athletes “This message will continue to resonate for times to come as encouragement not only for athletes but for leaders of the Olympic Movement,” the participants observed. The national athletes were presented with a lecture of Prof Dr Stephan Wassong, President Committee International Pierre de Coubertin, informing the participants about the origins and objectives of the Olympic Movement as was envisioned by Barron Pierre de Coubertin, the father of modern Olympics. Dr Wassong shed light on the link between Greek antiquity of modern Olympics and the key element of educational value of sports that was the vision of Coubertin and the way Coubertin emphasised on the Olympic Role Model. The athletes were presented with informative lectures by the NOC Pakistan’s experts. Dr Asad Abbas Shah presented the audience with protocols of sports during COVID-19, nutrition and enhancement of immune system to fight against the pandemic. He informed the athletes with the dietary preferences they should have to keep themselves healthy and fit. Dr. Lubna Sibtain, mother of Olympian Ms Rubab Raza, shared her experience of grooming an Olympian and how she was working for elimination of doping from national sports. A combo of former and current athletes comprising Ms Sumera Sattar, Muhammad Inam Butt and Ms Asma Akram informed the athletes about their rights, protection of their rights and foremost the measures athletes should take to exercise their rights. Lt. Gen (r) Muzzammil Hussain inaugurated the forum and his remarks were applauded by the athletes. “Physical strength leads to mental strength that builds the community stronger,” he stated. Former Olympians Col (r) Mudassar Asghar and Manzoor ul Hassan were also present to encourage the athletes. Brig Zaheer Akhtar and Ch Muhammad Yaqoob honoured the occasion with their presence as chair of sessions.