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Thursday February 29, 2024

Top wrestler concerned over preps for Olympic Qualifiers

December 06, 2023

LAHORE: The appalling silence on the part of the authorities and state relating to the preparations for the Paris Olympics Qualifiers has left national top wrestlers utterly disappointed.

“There is no plan, no event and there is no camp,” a top wrestler told ‘The News’ on Tuesday. “I am training on my own. There is nothing for motivation. We wanted to have a solid training programme ahead of the Olympics Qualifiers but we have not yet even got a missed call from anyone,” the wrestler lamented.

“How federation can do it as it has no money. It seems that everything has been stopped. It’s really heart-breaking,” the wrestler added. “We have no option but to engage ourselves in certain activities. We recently went to USA on our own and played a few practice matches held in New York,” the wrestler said.

A banner with the logo of the Paris bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games can be seen this still on June 24, 2023.—AFP
A banner with the logo of the Paris bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games can be seen this still on June 24, 2023.—AFP

“We wanted to prepare well for the Olympics Qualifiers as we had a chance to earn at least one or two seats. Still we have the capability if the authorities and state manage foreign training tour for three months. It will help us to deliver in the Asian Qualifiers in April. But currently it seems that nothing is being done,” the wrestler said.

Another wrestler said that they are doing training in their respective hometowns as there is no hope in sight. “Its extremely frustrating situation,” the wrestler said.

“We were expecting a training camp and a foreign training tour after the Hangzhou Asian Games but it seems that there is no hope,” he said. “It’s a perfect time to make a plan for preparation and if the authorities and government did not show any interest and wasted more time in deciding the things then the things would slip off our hands,” the wrestler said.

Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PWF) early this year wanted to give intensive exposure and foreign training to the leading grapplers in order to prepare them for the Paris Olympics Qualifiers.

Three wrestlers including the premier grappler Mohammad Inam, Mohammad Bilal and Youth Olympics bronze medallist Inayatullah were sent to Serbia in September for the World Championships which was also the first qualifying round for the Paris Olympics.

The trio failed to do anything noteworthy on that trip on which no official was accompanying the wrestlers. Then in the Asian Games too national wrestlers failed to deliver. Mohammad Inam was not part of the Asian Games.

Now from April 12-14, 2024, Asian Qualification tournament for the Paris Olympics will be held in Bishkek. And then from May 9-12 in Istanbul the World Qualification tournament will be conducted in six weight categories.

This correspondent tried to approach a senior official of the PWF but he did not receive calls. A few days ago Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Shoaib Khoso had told this correspondent that the Board was facing financial issues but every effort would be made to facilitate those athletes who aimed to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

The next few months are very important for players of those disciplines in which the country can create chances of qualifying for the Paris Olympics. So far two shooters Ghulam Mustafa Bashir and Joseph Gulfam, premier javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem and Melbourne-based eventer Usman Khan have qualified for the Paris Olympics. Usman will need to maintain his rankings until the end of the qualification window.