Shah snares judo bronze to open Pakistan’s medal-tally

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BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan’s premier judoka Shah Hussain on Wednesday opened Pakistan’s medal account when he snared a bronze in the -90 kilogramme weight category of the judo competitions of the Commonwealth Games here at the Coventry Judo Arena.

The two-time Olympian defeated South Africa’s rookie fighter Breytenbach Thomas-Laszio in the bronze medal fight to collect his second Commonwealth Games medal. He had snared silver in the -100kg in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

He won it by ippon after a two minutes and 51 seconds tough contest.

Shah, who featured in the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympics, was expected to claim gold but he did not start his journey well as he fell to Harrison Cassar of Australia in the quarter-finals.

Shah fought well but failed to earn a win in that fight early Wednesday morning which lasted for seven minutes and three seconds.

Earlier, Pakistan’s young fighter Qaiser Khan also fell in his first round when he was undone by New Zealand’s Jason Koster in the -100kg pre-quarter-finals which was also his first fight in the event.

A senior official of Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) was happy with the win.

“We needed this. It’s really great news,” PJF vice-president Masood Ahmed told The News.

“He was very furious after his fall in the quarter-finals despite playing so well and in this fight he went on attack and succeeded,” Masood said

“Both played superbly in their first-round matches as no point was scored against them, but there was no coach with them which hurt. A coach was necessary who could tell them that their feet go outside the area,” he said.

With this the judo journey of Pakistan also came to an end. Pakistan had fielded both Shah and Qaisar in the quadrennial event. They had no coach. Shah trained in Tokyo and this was the first time that he was playing in the -90kg in international circuit. He has played in -100kg in his entire international career.

After the Tokyo Olympics first round fall he decided to go to -90kg and he succeeded.

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