Mystery surrounds Shoaib Malik’s Asian Games village stay

Updated: Nov 20, 2010, 17:38 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik’s conspicuous presence at the Guangzhou Asian Games athletes’ village has surprised his country’s contingent there, as the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has denied issuing him any accreditation card- a prerequisite for his stay.

Only those athletes are allowed to stay at the Games village, who are either representing their respective countries or have been issued special passes by the Olympic committee, The News reported.

A POA official in Guangzhou said, “When we spotted Shoaib Malik in the Asian Games village, we were also surprised as being a Pakistani he should have contacted us for issuing him a necessary card to visit the Village. It is not clear whether he is staying in the Village or whether he turns up every day to meet his wife.”

Shoaib’s wife, Sania Mirza, is representing India in the Games’ tennis event, and is one of the favourites to win the ladies’ single title. On Thursday, Sania had dedicated her opening Asian Games win to her husband, Malik.

The POA official confirmed that Malik was seen regularly at the Games Village, and that could not be possible without staying there. “We have no idea how he manages to spend so much time in the village,” he said.

“He must be having accreditation card and that is the reason why he is here. However, the POA has nothing to do with his accreditation,” he added.

He pointed out that they had also noticed the former cricket captain turning up either earlier or late for dining, probably in a bid to avoid being seen by Pakistani sportsmen.

Days before Eid-ul-Azha, Malik was spotted regularly in the athletes’ village, dining and passing time. However, it is not clear whether he returned to Pakistan to celebrate Eid, or is still in the Games village in China.