Saadi falls; debutant Hamza snares bronze in CW Karate

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BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan’s seasoned karateka and former Asian champion Saadi Abbas lost to India’s Aman Kumar in the bronze medal fight of the -75 kilogramme weight category of the 10th Commonwealth Karate Championship in Birmingham on Thursday.

Aman won the fight 4-1 against Saadi, a former two-time Commonwealth Karate Championship champion. “I think it was not that Saadi who was ten years back,” Saadi told this correspondent from Birmingham.

Earlier, Saadi, also the US Open champion, did not start well as he was beaten by Australia’s Mitchell Durham in his first fight 5-3.

As the Australian progressed to the final, Saadi was given repechage and in his first fight he defeated Canada’s Patrick Nocholas Rivest 4-0 to set a bronze medal fight with Aman. However, there he failed to fight the way he should have.

“There was no one in the entire pool of my standard but I think I lacked the kind of spark which was required to win fights at this stage. I think age also matters,” Saadi said.

“A few years ago I would come to these events all alone and would win titles but now I think I should either take some rest or should retire if there is no push from behind. How long can I keep doing all this without any support!” said Saadi, who recently lost to a world champion from Uzbekistan in the Islamic Games in Turkey.

“I think the Commonwealth standard is now competitive or I did not prepare well enough. I tried my best in this event but could not pull off the result I wanted,” Saadi said.

“I have told my federation if it sees that I can win medals for the country in the Asian martial arts event, Asian Games and South Asian Games then it will have to push me and help me. If it gives me what I need then I guarantee that I will win medals in the coming events. But if there is no push and no support it will be difficult for me to continue playing karate,” Saadi said.

Meanwhile Paris-based Pakistani karateka Hamza Iqbal Raja won bronze in the -84kg.  Hamza started well by beating an Indian fighter in his first fight. He lost his second fight against an England fighter and went to repechage where he won against fighters from Wales and Cyprus to win bronze. This was the debut event for Hamza, who is from Azad Kashmir and lives in France. His entry had been sent by Pakistan Karate Federation.

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