KARACHI: Pakistan Wushu Federation’s (PWF) president Malik Iftikhar on Sunday said that it would be difficult to pull off great results in the 13th South Asian Games later this year if a training camp was not arranged in time.
“I don’t think we will live up to expectations if we did not get a camp immediately,” Milk told ‘The News’ in an interview. “We have already sent our whole plan to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB). We wanted even to start our preparations in Ramadan. We are still waiting for the Board’s response,” he added.
Wushu has been one of the most medal-pulling disciplines in Asia, especially South Asia, for Pakistan. It is the only individual discipline which has been able to produce medals in three successive three Asian Games. Unluckily, no medal was won in the Asian Games in Indonesia last year.
Pakistan claimed two gold, two silver and six bronze medals in wushu in the 2016 South Asian Games hosted by India in Guwahati and Shillong. Wushu fighters had been given a three-month camp for those Games.
When asked what they would do if the state did not arrange a camp in near future, Malik said they would try to do something on their own. However, he was quick to add that handling the affairs of the federation was not so easy. “You know we have not been given our grant for the last six years. I have borrowed Rs4 million already. You know despite no state support we have been fielding our fighters consistently in international events,” Malik said.
He said he expected support from the government because Pakistan had the potential to achieve glorious results. The South Asian Games are slated to be held in Nepal from December 1-10.
Malik said that 42 boys and 21 girls would be invited to the camp. “Eventually 14 boys and seven girls will go to Nepal. They will be accompanied by four officials so a 25-member,” Malik said.
He said that next month a meeting would be held in Nepal which would be attended by the wushu officials of the participating nations. “In the meeting effort would be made to form a uniform policy so that the weak nations also could get some medals,” Malik said.
He said that PWF was going to hold National Championship in Quetta from July 28-31. “Around 260 fighters will showcase their talent in the national event,” Malik said. He made it clear that selection for SAG would not be made on the basis of performance at the National Championship. “Trials will be conducted for picking the squad,” he said.
Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has directed all national federations to hold their national championships as soon as possible so that preparation for the SAG could be made in time. But the issue is that various units will train their players for the 33rd National Games slated to be held in Peshawar from October 26 to November 1 and that will break the momentum.
However, it has also been decided by the country’s sports pundits that the players would not go to their homes after featuring in the National Games but would directly move to the national camps in order to keep up the momentum.
To a query, Malik said momentum would not break if training camps were arranged in time. Malik, who has established a training facility on his own in Lahore, also revealed that he had purchased equipment worth Rs750,000 for power training.
“Our fighters used to go to gyms in other areas, so I felt why not there should be our own facility,” said Malik, a qualified coach. Pakistan’s real battle in the Games will be against Indian fighters as they won two gold in wushu in the 2016 Games. India has engaged three Chinese coaches for both its men and women squads.