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Tuesday May 21, 2024

Pak wrestlers flop in Asian Qualifiers for Paris Games

By Alam Zeb Safi
April 20, 2024
Representational image of wrestlers. — UWW website
Representational image of wrestlers. — UWW website

LAHORE: As was expected national wrestlers on Friday flopped in the Asian Qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

All four grapplers failed to impress with only one wrestler winning just a single fight with the rest having fallen at the first hurdle. Mohammad Asadullah was the only grappler who cleared the first hurdle when he downed Sri Lanka’s Wijesooriya Madushanka Lakmal 10-0 in the 74 kilogramme qualification round. However he failed to impress onwards and was downed by Nurkozha Kaipanov of Kazakhstan 10-0 in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile the country’s experienced grappler Mohammad Bilal also gave a disappointing performance when he was undone 8-2 by Munkh Erdene Batkhuyag of Mongolia in the 57 kilogramme weight category qualification fight.

In the 65kg pre-quarter-final rookie Mohammad Abdullah, who a few days ago made his international debut also in Bishkek by featuring in the Asian Championship, went down to China’s Shaohua Yuan 3-3.

In the 125 kilogramme qualification fight experienced Zaman Anwar lost to Yusup Batirmurzaev of Kazakhstan 11-0 and was omitted. Pakistan’s seasoned wrestler Mohammad Inam had already skipped the event due to injury which he received during training in Bishkek just ahead of the Asian Championship held a few days ago.

This was the second opportunity which Pakistani wrestlers wasted and failed to earn Paris Olympics seat. Last year in September in Serbia they had also failed to click in the World Championship which was the first qualifying round for this year’s Paris Games.

Now national wrestlers have just one more chance in the shape of the World Qualification event which will be hosted by Turkey in Istanbul from May 9-12. The wrestlers will go straight into the camp after arriving in Pakistan and will resume training for the next target here at Lahore.

Inam said that unless wrestlers are trained properly such goals cannot be achieved. “The boys made their effort and so the federation. How you can qualify for the Olympics with just a month-long camp,” he questioned while talking to this correspondent from his hometown Gujranwala.

“In the last moment players are made the scapegoat as federation will also say that it sent wrestlers to the event. Never in the world it happens with the so-called training,” he pointed out.

“We were saying that we needed a camp and foreign training for four to five months but nothing happened. And in the end if a few days camp is held and that too in Ramadan so how you can achieve such a high goal for which other nations labour hard for entire four-year period by doing quality training,” he said.

Inam said that quality nations should be followed if Pakistan are to progress in the discipline. “If you want to bring an improvement in the performance then you should see who does the best practice. If you look at Iran, India, Turkmenistan, Japan and China they have different teams for both Asian Championship and Olympics Qualifiers. They have kept their top seeds for this year’s Olympics and are preparing their bench for the 2028 Olympics by giving opportunities to them at the Asian level,” he said.

“And we think even for this Olympics to either hold camp for a few days or not. There is a need of four-year plan if you are to develop your wrestling,” Inam said. “If you just waste time like what we are doing then nothing will be made possible and we will not develop as a wrestling nation,” Inam signed off.