Gul falls as Pakistan’s Asian boxing qualifiers’ journey ends on sad note

From our correspondent

Amman, Jordan: Pakistan’s voyage in the Asia and Oceania Boxing Qualifiers for 2020 Tokyo Olympics ended on Friday on disappointing note as the country’s third fighter Gul Zeb also exited in the welterweight preliminaries in Amman, Jordan.
Gul, who had got bye in the first round, went 0-5 down to China’s Maimaititu Ersun Qiong in the 69 kilogramme weight category.
Mehmood-ul-Hasan (75kg) and Syed Mohammad Asif (52kg) had lost their first bouts in their respective weight categories during the past three days.
Pakistan had fielded three fighters in the continental qualifiers due to financial issues.
However this is not the end of Pakistan’s mission as the country’s fighters also have the chance to feature in the World Qualifying round to be held in Paris in early May.
Pakistan coach Arshad Hussain on Friday told this correspondent from Jordan that his boxers lacked international exposure.
“Our fighters had good fitness but the big issue was that they lacked international exposure that damaged our cause,” Arshad said.
“Unless we give international exposure and foreign training tours to the fighters the same issue would continue to affect our performance at the major stage,” said Arshad, also a former Olympian.
He was quick to add that Asif and Gul Zeb had the capability to beat any fighter provided they are given solid training opportunities.
“Look at India, they did not field their cream in the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal last year as they had sent their top boxers to Russia. And now for the last six months Indian boxers were in Italy to undergo training with the boxers of five to six nations of Europe before coming to Jordan,” he said.
To a query he said if boxers are not allowed to go their homes after they would return Pakistan and begin preparation for the World Qualifying round then the things could be good in Paris.
“No doubt Paris’ qualifeirs would be even more tougher but if we hold camp without wasting time and manage a foreign tour for one month or so then I am hopeful both Asif and Gul Zeb could pull off surprise in Paris,” said Arshad, also an AIBA 3-star coach.
Initially, Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) wanted to field a full-fledged squad in Jordan’s qualifiers but later decided against that as neither sponsors nor state rushed to the support of the national fighters.