Pakistan judo set to impress in South Asian event

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 1:32:38 by

KARACHI: The Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) is confident of bagging at least two gold medals at the 2014 South Asian Judo Championship that will begin in Kathmandu, Nepal on April 10.

PJF Secretary Masood Ahmed said that of the 13 athletes participating in the competition, the federation expects at least Karamat Butt and Shah Hussain to earn gold medals in the men’s 81 kg and 100 kg events, respectively.

“We’re pinning our hopes on Hussain and Butt because both of them have competed in international events,” Ahmed told The Express Tribune. “Hussain will be joining us from Tokyo, where he has trained for the championship. I’m sure there will many silver medals too.”

Meanwhile, six female athletes will compete in six categories. Ahmed said that Fauzia Mumtaz had won a silver medal for the country in the South Asian competition in 2011 while another favourite will be Shumaila Gul in the 57kg event.

During an eight-month training camp in Peshawar, the athletes were trained by Iran’s Sajjad Kazmi, who rejoined the squad on Tuesday after a brief stay in his home country.

‘Regional events are important’

Ahmed added that it is essential for Pakistan to compete in regional championships if the sport is given due attention.

“It’s going to send a very negative message to the world if Pakistan stop competing in regional events as well,” said Ahmed.

“Our judo athletes have been very consistent. They have won medals in their previous participation at international events. What kind of image will it send if we don’t even compete in regional events?”

He further said that so far, the federation has spent at least Rs1.3 million in total for the championship, while the government-allotted funds have not been released yet.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2014.

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