Saturday March 02, 2024

PTF considering sending fighters to Iran or South Korea

December 11, 2023

LAHORE: In order to prepare well for the next year’s Asian Qualifiers for Paris Olympics, Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) is mulling an option to hold a training camp either in Iran or South Korea for a few weeks.

“We want to establish a training camp either in Iran or South Korea. It’s important to hold a three-week camp before the competition and we will plan to send the squad to China directly from there for the Asian Qualifiers,” PTF president Col Wasim told The News.

This image shows two competitors during the game. — Pakistan Taekwondo website
This image shows two competitors during the game. — Pakistan Taekwondo website

The Asian Qualification round is scheduled to be held from March 15-16 in Tai’an, a city in the western Shandong province of China. Wasim seemed eager to give full exposure to the lot which will press for the Olympics seats in the Asian Qualifiers.

The PTF will plan the camp on foreign soil after the National Junior Championship which it plans to hold in Islamabad in near future. “We had sent Iranian coach Yousuf Karami on leave and he will return to Pakistan on December 12 or 14. We are to hold National Junior Championship in Islamabad and from January onwards we will work on the preparations for the Olympics Qualifiers,” Wasim said.

PTF will focus on four top fighters who have been doing well in international circuit. “We have Shahzeb, Haroon Khan, Ihtisham, who beat a US Grand Prix boy with 12th ranking on his international debut, and Hamza. We will focus on these four fighters for the Qualifiers,” Wasim said.

“There are some female fighters also who we will try to send for the qualifiers. We will see which girl is better. There is Mahnoor, Naqsh Hamdani and Zoya,” he said. In the Asian Qualification event, the top two in each weight category will qualify for the Paris Olymmpics.

Col Wasim sees a chance for his fighters. “Yes, we have good stuff and it depends on how they prepare. I see definitely a chance for my boys,” he said.

The country’s major fighter Haroon Khan is also confident about his chances in the Asian qualification round. “I am working for coming events, including the Paris Olympics Qualifiers. The camp will begin in the next few days. We will flex our muscles in events in Dubai and Iran in February and then there are the Asian Qualifiers for the Paris Olympics. The Dubai and Iran experience will help us in the Olympics Qualifiers,” said Haroon who has the experience of giving tough time to the world’s best lot.

“I am working hard and hopefully if I am selected I will put in my best in the Asian Qualifiers,” he was quick to add. Haroon these days is undergoing training at his hometown Quetta. “Yes, I am doing hard training here at my club. I am in good shape and if God is on my side then I will be able to pull off wonders in China,” Haroon said.