By our correspondent
KARACHI: Pakistan will field three wrestlers in the Asian qualifying round for Olympics and the Asian Championship slated to be hosted by Kazakhstan in Almaty.
The Asian qualifying round for Olympics will be held in Almaty from April 9-11 in which the top two grapplers in each weight category will qualify for this year’s Tokyo Olympics. And this will be immediately followed by the Asian Championship, also to be held in Almaty, from April 13-18. Asian Championship is not part of the Olympic qualification process.
“We are sending Mohammad Inam, Mohammad Bilal and Haroon Abid for these twin assignments next month inshaAllah,” PWF secretary Arshad Sattar said.
Inam, the country’s top seed, will be fighting in the 97 kilogramme. His previous weight was 86 kg. Mohammad Bilal, cousin of Inam, will flex his muscles in the 57 kg while Japan-based Haroon Abid will aim to impress in the 125 kg.
Haroon is the nephew of Jhara Pehalwan. He had been taken to Japan by former Japanese professional wrestler Antonio Inoki and the latter backed him in his growth as a wrestler.
But the big issue is that these wrestlers are not being backed by the state. Their camp is being held under the PWF at the Punjab College Lahore.
“We had written several times to the government that our camp should be held but you know the state did not act. We can only write them and cannot do anything more,” Arshad said.
“You know last time our wrestlers featured in the 2019 South Asian Games in Nepal and this will be after one and a half year when we will be featuring in the international circuit,” Arshad said.
“You know wrestling is a potential discipline and it is the responsibility of the state to back it properly. During the last three years we have not been given any camp despite sending so many requests to the PSB,” Arshad said.
“Wrestling is played on mat and here there is no such major facility. Mostly mud wrestling is held here. The state should look into these things which count a lot. The Prime Minister Imran Khan is himself a sportsman but during his tenure as Prime Minister our sport suffered the most. I request the PM that the state should take care of our wrestlers who have been winning medals in the international circuit quite constantly,” Arshad said.
“You know nations prepare for Olympics constantly for years and we hardly feature in qualifiers and that too without having quality preparations. This is not the way sport is governed. There should be a professional approach by the state,” the official said.”We have to deposit Rs800,000 with the world body as our annual membership fee for two years. We have requested the government but so far no response has been received,” the official informed.
Arshad said that the PWF decided to field top wrestlers in the next month’s twin events because they had been training constantly even at the tough times.
“Inam was training hard and so were the others and we decided to back them. We are not only fielding them in the next month’s two back-to-back events in Almaty but we will also send our wrestlers to two more events to be announced soon,” Arshad said.
Arshad hoped that the trio would put in their best in the two events.
“You know Inam’s stature and the experience he has and we hope he will live up to the billing. Bilal is also a quality wrestler and it is also the best chance for highly-talented Haroon to impress at the big stage,” Arshad said.So far three shooters, a javelin thrower and an equestrian have qualified for this year’s Tokyo Olympics. Judoka Shah Hussain and karateka Saadi Abbas also have a chance to make it to the world’s most prestigious extravaganza.Boxers’s hopes almost finished when the world qualifiers in Paris were cancelled last month. It has been decided by the IOC Boxing Task Force that the 32 men’s places which were supposed to be offered during the world qualifiers would be awarded to the world’s leading fighters on the basis of four-year performances and the ultimate rankings.