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LAHORE: Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) is expected to send its leading judokas to Mongolia well in advance before the Grand Slam which it will host in Ulaanbaatar from June 24-26 in order to undergo training which will help them in the Commonwealth Games.
“Yes, we are mulling an option to send our top lot to Mongolia well in advance so that they could get solid training before the Grand Slam which will also help them in the Commonwealth Games,” a senior official of the PJF told an English Daily ‘The News’ on Thursday.
“We have great friendship with the Mongolia Judo Federation and we will face no issue in sending our athletes there for training a few days ahead of the Grand Slam which Mongolia is hosting,” the official was quick to add.
However, the official said that the PJF will write to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) about this matter.
“Definitely we will write to the Board as we will have to get an NOC and financial support from the state,” the official said.
“Sending judokas to Grand Slam is very important as with this event 2024 Paris Olympics qualifiers will also begin,” the official said.
So far only two judokas including the Olympian Shah Hussain and Qaiser Afridi have been confirmed for the Commonwealth Games.
It has been learnt that PJF wants to field six men and four women judokas in the Commonwealth Games. A source told ‘The News’ that the PJF is making an effort to ensure some more fighters are inducted into the Birmingham-bound judo lot.
The Commonwealth Games performance will also provide a solid picture to the PJF on which athletes it will have to focus for the Paris Olympics qualifiers which will be a two-year long process and is often more resource-intensive.
It is not yet known whether Olympian Shah Hussain will again try to press for the 2024 Paris Olympics seat after featuring in the back-to-back Olympics in 2016 in Rio and 2021 in Tokyo. The Japan-based fighter had told this correspondent in an interview that his performance in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will determine whether he should go for earning seat in Paris 2024 or not.
The Commonwealth Games are pencilled in for July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham.
Shah, who played in -100 kg during his entire career, has now also decided to play in the -90kg, a decision which may put him in big trouble as he will have to initiate world ranking from the start. And going into the 2024 Olympics will be a big issue for him.
Meanwhile Qaiser Afridi is well set to establish his career in the -100kg if Shah quits the same weight category.
The PJF has also held a camp in Quetta on April 1 for a load of international events to be held in the next few months.
“Yes we have held a camp in Quetta and around 18 fighters have reported so far and by tomorrow the strength will go up to 40,” the official said.
The country’s emerging star Qaiser Afridi is yet to join the camp. Shah Hussain is preparing in Tokyo and his family sources said that he is very determined ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
Shah, also the two-time Asian bronze medallist, had clinched silver in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. In 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games judo was not included.
Meanwhile it was also known taht the PJF has decided against hiring Russian coach Musa because of Russia and Ukraine tension and as a result some sanctions on Russian Judo Federation and has started seeking for a coach from any other nation.
It has been learnt that the PJF is interested in a Spanish coach working with China and he has also informed the PJF about his demand. The PJF is taking its time to reach to a conclusion.
The PJF has got a green signal from the PSB about hiring a foreign coach. The Board is interested to manage foreign coaches for potential disciplines until the 2023 14th South Asian Games which Pakistan will host next March.