Wrestling coach expects Pakistan to win medals

October 02, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan’s wrestling coach Ghulam Fareed on Sunday said that his charges will pull off surprise in the Asian Games.

“We have prepared extremely well and I am hundred percent sure that our wrestlers will pull off surprise in the Asian Games," Fareed told ‘The News’ from Islamabad just before flying for Hangzhou.

The six-member squad, including four wrestlers and two officials, left for Hangzhou on Sunday where they will feature in freestyle slots of the quadrennial event from October 6 to 7.

Mohammad Bilal (57kg), Inayatullah (74kg), Haider Ali (86kg) and Zaman Anwar (125kg) are the wrestles who will be pressing for medals in the Games where wrestling standard is almost equal to the world standard as mostly the world and Olympic champions belong to the Asian continent.

Besides Ghulam Fareed, Mohammad Riaz is also accompanying the squad as an official. “You know our lot carries the wrestlers who have been consistently playing for the last five to six years in international circuit and we have been finishing mostly at the fifth and sixth spots in Asia. Bilal and Inayat have a bigger chance this time inshaAllah,” Fareed said. “Haider and Zaman are also solid wrestlers and if they get good draws then I am hopeful they can also deliver,” Fareed said.

“We underwent training for around five months. Inayat and Bilal also recently got exposure when they featured in the World Championship in Serbia. They also underwent a ten-day training there. And definitely that experience will help in Hangzhou,” Fareed said.

Pakistan last won medals in wrestling way back in 1986 Seoul Asian Games when Abdul Majeed claimed gold in the 90 kilogramme while Shahid Butt got silver in the 100kg. If any wrestler claims medal in Hangzhou it will be after 37 years that the national wrestlers will be able to return to the medal table in the Asian Games.

And Fareed stressed that they will do that. “InshaAllah we will return to the medals table this time,” Fareed said. “In the past Russia was not part of the Asian Games but since the central Asian nations have started featuring in the Asian Games it has made its standard more competitive in wrestling as world’s top level grapplers belong to this belt now,” Fareed said.

“But we have bright hopes,” he was quick to add. Bilal will flex his muscles in the event on October 6 in 57kg while the other three wrestlers will compete on October 7.