Saturday May 25, 2024

Saadi eyes successful comeback

By Alam Zeb Safi
April 19, 2024
Former Asian champion Saadi Abbas.  — Facebook/pakkaratein
Former Asian champion Saadi Abbas.  — Facebook/pakkaratein

LAHORE: Dogged by injuries and offshore settlement issues, Pakistan’s seasoned karateka and former Asian champion Saadi Abbas has said that he has started training and will make a strong comeback on the international circuit.

“I have started training and will make a strong comeback. I aim to feature in the 14th South Asian Games which Pakistan will host and the events before this and will deliver my best,” Saadi told ‘The News’ in an interview from Canada.

Saadi had to skip the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou last year due to injury and also missed the World Championship. At a time when he missed the Asian Games it was perceived that the two-time Commonwealth Championship gold medallist will not be able to return to international circuit and will fold his illustrious career in which he won loads of international medals. But it is not the case. The Lyari-born US Open champion has made his mind to serve Pakistan a bit more despite lack of motivation particularly from the state.

Saadi won loads of medals for Pakistan while mostly living in the UAE for almost a decade where he not only focussed on his individual training but also acted as a club coach, a stint which mostly backed his international commitments and especially the Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers in which he had done a glorious job to bring himself within striking distance of qualifying for the world’s most prestigious event.

However missing a few events in the end and in the middle due to financial issues deprived him of the opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. His resolve also seemed to be affected at a stage when he was also deprived of a civil award despite his highly meritorious services for the country when other athletes, although of comparatively low credentials and being juniors, were honoured with awards.

His presence in Pakistan’s camp always has been too useful for his colleagues who used to learn from his experience. He is now settled in Canada. Besides undergoing training himself for future international commitments he is also imparting training to Canadian fighters who have been growing well under his coaching.

“InshaAllah I will come in rhythm. Yes there is a motivational issue as Asian Games and World Championship passed. In Pakistan nobody appreciates you which demotivates an athlete. Something happens which demotivates you but I have still held my nerves and am calm and will stage a strong comeback,”