KARACHI: Pakistan will miss its renowned weightlifter – last year's Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nooh Dastgir Butt – in this year's Asian Games as the country's weightlifting authorities have not sent his entry for the quadrennial event to be held in China in September-October.
According to the Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWF) Nooh's entry for the Asian Games was not sent because he did not participate in the trials held in Lahore last month.
“Nooh does not accept PWF. He has sit in the lap of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) which has also formed an interim committee. We had held open trials, everyone was called and WAPDA had also sent to us Nooh's name but he did not come for the trials at Lahore,” PWF vice-president Amjad Amin Butt told 'The News'. “May be he does not consider us and so he did not come for the trials,” Butt was quick to add.
Asked as to why PWF did not contact him directly to about his absence from the trials, Butt claimed he did not pick their calls. “He has ceased his communication with us. The actual thing is that he does not accept the PWF and says that the interim committee is the federation,” Butt alleged.
“We have also written a couple of letters to him, asking him to express his position but he is not doing that,” he said.
“We have sent preliminary entries for the Asian Games and the rule is that you cannot add any name to the list now but you can only deduct from it in case any athlete gets injured in the meantime,” he said.
“January 15 was the last date for submitting entries and we held trials until December 30.”
Asked does PWF own Nooh, Amjad Butt said they 'own him' but he does not accept the federation.
“We own Nooh and we had also written a letter to him to come and take away his IOC scholarship cheque. Nooh said that he would not take it from the PWF but he would take it from the POA directly. We sent him a reminder and his copy was forwarded to the POA. We told POA that we had told him (Nooh) to collect his cheque. When Nooh did not come to collect his cheque from the federation so POA told us to return that cheque to the NOC. And we returned that to the NOC,” Butt said.
Asked whether he is also out of the Olympic qualifying rounds now Butt said: “Definitely he has also taken himself out of the Olympic qualifying rounds.”
“We had to go according to the dates of the organising committee and we had to provide documents accordingly. He should have pursued this thing earlier and should have asked us why we were going to take trials so early and we would brief him that it was because of the same reason,” Butt said.
Asked had he (Nooh) requested the PWF for delaying his trials so PWF would have accepted his request Butt said it could have been done had he pursued it but he did not. “Now the things are over and nothing can be done,” Butt clarified, saying the PWF has already sent a seven-member preliminary list to the POA.
Nooh, when approached, rubbished the PWF allegations, saying, he is not involved in any kind of politics and is focussed on his performance.
“Till date I have spoken not a single word about the PSB. I have neither attended the PSB's function nor attended function of any other federation.
I have also not received any call from the PWF,” Nooh told ‘The News’. “Last month I met with the POA chief General Arif Hasan during the national wrestling event and I apprised him of the story that it has been saying that I have relations with the parallel body. I have never sit with that body. Neither I have attended its any function nor I have given any such statement. And I told General sahib why I have been making part of such things,” Nooh said.
“Last month PWF held trials without explaining that these were the Asian Games trials. How eight months before an event trials are held? The other thing is why they (PWF) did not send me for the Asian Championship last year. They sent Abdullah Butt to the Asian Championship who lost to me 12 times. Abdullah Butt finished at the ninth spot there,” Nooh questioned.
“They had emailed me and I had also emailed him and I have its proof. They had told me in the email that my IOC scholarship cheque had come and I had inquired that where was my cheque. They never called me on phone, nor invited me for a meeting. If I cooperate with General Arif like his son and if I cooperate with the POA then how PWF says that I am not cooperating with it,” Nooh said.
“I think Asian Games entries are sent three months before the event. Do they not know that I am Pakistans top-ranked weightlifter. Why they did not contact me that why I was not coming to the trials or why I did not come to the trials. Look, in Asian Games only weightlifters will not feature. Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem and wrestler Inam Butt will also go. They have not yet held their trials and they have not yet sent entries,” Nooh said.
“I am not part of any politics. I had written about PSB on facebook because the Board had backed me a lot for the Commonwealth Games. I had written, while referring to the former DG PSB Col Asif Zaman, that for sports promotion such kind of people should come forward. And in this post I had not talked about federation, POA or anyone else. I dont want to indulge myself in politics,” he said. Meanwhile Noohs father and former international weightlifter Ghulam Dastgir Butt told The News that what the PWF is doing is not in the best interest of Pakistan.
“If there is little bit of medal chance in the Asian Games that will also blow up if Nooh does not feature,” he said.
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