By our correspondent
LAHORE: With no foreign training tour in sight Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PWF) is expected to invite Afghanistan for joint training and competitions in order to prepare for the 19th Asian Games slated to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8.
According to a well-placed source privy to the development Afghanistan has requested PWF to invite them as they want to play with Pakistani wrestlers.
“Afghanistan Wrestling Federation (AWF) has sent three emails and has also talked with us on phone. They have requested us to invite them. We will mull this option after the trials for the Asian Games after Eid as trials are the top priority,” the source said.
“We are also looking for some local sponsors as we want the tourists to at least get their travelling expenses. If they come we will arrange competitions for them and they will also train with us for a month and it will help both the nations in the preparations for the Asian Games,” the source said.
“Afghanistan’s wrestling is not bad as they have produced some fine wrestlers. I think if we are able to invite them then it will be useful for both,” the source stressed.
“What we want is to manage some competitions for our wrestlers who hardly get a national championship in the entire year and they directly compete in international circuit. Besides the Asian Games we are to feature in the World Championship and there are also ANOC World Beach Games,” the source said.
As many as 40 national wrestlers are undergoing training here at the Punjab College for the Asian Games which is the toughest challenge for the national grapplers who have been doing well in international circuit. However they are yet to impress in the Asian Games, an event which usually carries the world best wrestlers.
National wrestlers do their fitness work at the PSB Coaching Centre Lahore while undergo mat training at the Punjab College located at the New Muslim Town. They train for half an hour daily at the air-conditioned hall of the Punjab College facility after labouring in other areas of training for most of the day, including enhancing physical fitness which is the soul area for any athlete to boost before enhancing his skills.
The camp is being financially supported by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).
The source also revealed that the trials will be held here at the PSB Coaching Centre on July 5 to select their four wrestlers for the Asian Games.
“Yes POA had given us June 30 as the last date for submitting final entries but we requested them that we want to hold trials as there are some fine wrestlers in few weights who should be given the final chance to press for the Asian Games slots,” the source said.
“We have issued a circular. We have invited the best lot who delivered in the recently held National Games in Quetta,” the source said.
The source said that there will be a tough contest in the 74 kilogramme where they have a handful of fine grapplers who have won medals in international circuit at various levels.
The source said that Pakistan’s medal chances in the Asian Games in wrestling cannot be ruled out.
“Yes it’s a tough event but medal is not impossible. It all depends on the draws and the kind of training,” the source said.
The country’s premier wrestler Mohammad Inam, his cousin Mohammad Bilal, Youth Olympics bronze medallist Inayatullah and the reigning Rustam-e-Pakistan and the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games silver medallist Zaman Anwar will have to do their best in the trials in order to earn Asian Games slots.
Inam (86kg) and Bilal (57kg) will easily earn Asian Games seats but Inayatullah (74kg) and Zaman Anwar (open weight) may face some stuff opposition from highly talented wrestlers in their respectibe weight categories.
Pakistan will be fielding four wrestlers, a manager and a coach in the Asian Games which is very important for the national grapplers ahead of their 2024 Paris Olympics Qualifiers.
National grapplers, who have been boarded at the PSB Coaching Centre Lahore, will leave for their homes on Tuesday to celebrate Eid with their families before reassembling on July 3 to resume their training.
By our correspondent