Inam wants integrated camp; foreign training for Commonwealth Games

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KARACHI: Pakistan’s top wrestler and two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Mohammad Inam on Monday stressed that the national grapplers will need a three-month foreign training which will help create medal prospects in the Commonwealth Games slated to be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8.

“First of all we need to begin training at the national level as soon as possible and after training for one and a half months at home we will need at least three months training on foreign soil. It is the only way that will help us win medals in the Birmingham event,” Inam said in an interview.

“Look, we will have to compete with India, Canada and Nigeria and we will have to prepare our plans according to that. They are the nations where training camps go on. India’s grapplers are abroad for the last six months and have been featuring in various events where we are unable to take part. The wrestler from India against whom I will fight in Birmingham is in quality training and has won a medal a few days ago besides winning a medal in the world ranking series before,” Inam said.

“And here we have to wait for a national-level training camp. Some wrestlers are training in Gujranwala, others are in Lahore, and a few in Peshawar. So there is an immediate need for an integrated training camp. If there is restriction on full body contact sports disciplines but there is gym work, physical training, running, ground work and skills work which can be done during the integrated camp ,” the wrestler conceded.

He feared that any further delay in holding training camp would minimize Pakistan’s medal chances in the Birmingham event. Inam was of the view that if the government could not send a full squad for training abroad then at least the top six wrestlers, who would feature in the Birmingham event, should be sent.

Inam linked his tally of medals in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and 2018 Gold Coast, Australia, Commonwealth Games to proper training.

“For 2010 Commonwealth Games, our training camp had started six months before the event in New Delhi. We trained for three months at the national level and then our Iranian coach brought to Pakistan five to six Iranian grapplers of world repute and we trained with them there. The Iranian coach also went with us to India where I and Azhar Hussain won gold medals,” he recalled.

“Then for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games we were in the camp for almost three years because of several other international assignments. Two months before the Commonwealth Games we went to Iran for training and that helped us a lot as I won gold in Australia,” said Inam, also an undisputed beach wrestling global hero with loads of major medals.

Inam was the sole gold medallist for Pakistan in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. “This is the procedure for preparing for an international event. The more we waste time the more we will lose medal chances in Birmingham,” Inam reiterated.

Inam is a big medal prospect for Pakistan in the Commonwealth Games. Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PWF) plans to field wrestlers in six weights in the Birmingham event and three to four are expected to win medals provided they are trained well.