By our correspondent
KARACHI: Olympian judoka Shah Hussain on Saturday lost in the second round of the Grand Slam in Antalya, Turkey.
In the Tokyo Olympic qualifying event after getting bye in the -100 kg weight category first round Japan-based Shah showed great resilience before going down against Uzbekistan’s Khurramov Mukhammad Karim by two wazari after valiantly fighting for two minutes and 56 seconds.
The Uzbek was 16th ranked fighter and has to his credit two Grand Slam titles while Shah’s Olympic ranking is 50th.
Shah was fighting in international circuit after one year. Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) vice-president Masood Ahmed was happy with the way Shah fought bravely against highly experienced fighter.
“He played excellently,” Masood told this correspondent. “He was fighting after one year and it’s always not easy when you play at competitive level after so long time but the way he fought was superb. This will definitely boost his Olympic ranking,” Masood said.
Shah will now move to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Sunday (today) to feature in the Asia and Oceania Seniors Judo Championship to be held from April 6-9. Shah will have to conduct Covid PCR tests in Kyrgyzstan.
Shah’s fight will be held on April 8.
“Asian is a strong belt and has top fighters but we hope that Shah will deliver as he is also now much experienced fighter,” Masood said.
PJF also wanted to send Qaiser Khan and South Asian gold medallist Hamid Ali to Kyrgyzstan but the state did not give NOC due to financial issues and the duo were dropped for the event in which both India and Nepal are fielding heavy contingents.
It was also learnt that the government also did not issue NOC to the PJF officials and they will miss the Congress meeting of the Judo Union of Asia (JUA) in Kyrgyzstan. Masood said that after the continental event the federation also plans to send Shah to Grand Slam in Russia and World Championship in Hungary which also serve as qualifiers for Olympics.
Shah has already achieved continental quota and is making his effort to further improve his rankings until the end of qualifiers.
Shah is the only Pakistani fighter in the country’s judo history who has played in the 2016 Rio Olympics after having qualified on the basis of continental quota.