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Monday July 22, 2024

Inam suggests roadmap for 2028 Olympics

By Alam Zeb Safi
July 11, 2024
A view of the Olympic Rings in front of the Olympic House, IOC headquarters in Switzerland on March 28, 2023. — Reuters
A view of the Olympic Rings in front of the Olympic House, IOC headquarters in Switzerland on March 28, 2023. — Reuters

LAHORE: Pakistan’s seasoned wrestler and former beach wrestling world champion Mohammad Inam has suggested to the IPC Minister Rana Sanaullah a road map which could enable a sufficient pool of national athletes to qualify for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

“If we talk about 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and if we go to the grassroots level then nothing will happen,” Inam told ‘The News’ in an interview. “It would then be a long-term strategy and it would yield no results after so many years,” he said.

“But if we make a short-term plan and execute it for four years then we can enable more athletes to qualify for the 2028 Los Angeles Games,” Inam said. The IPC Minister Rana Sanaullah in a recent television interview expressed his disappointment over the condition of Pakistan’s sports, saying that national athletes cannot even qualify for the Olympics.

Inam said if Pakistan is to prepare athletes in four years then there is a simple formula which he says will work. “First we should stick to individual sports disciplines. My point is if you invest in team sports then you will have to work on a 25-member squad but if we take individual sports and invest in them then we will create chances of 25 medals,” Inam pointed out.

“First we will need to shortlist individual sports in which we have the capability to pull off performances in the next four years. And then we will need to find out the particular athletes who are capable to deliver in four years,” he said.

“We have weightlifting and wrestling in which we have some good stuff. Then we have a few major athletes including Arshad Nadeem, Yasir Sultan and sprinter Shajar Abbas and one or two other athletes who can qualify for Olympics. In boxing we have a few good names and in taekwondo and a few other individual sports. We should shortlist 35 to 40 athletes and label them as stars who will need foreign coaches, foreign training and extensive international exposure,” he said. “We should do this immediately,” Inam was quick to add.

“Other nations have already started preparing for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Recently when we competing in the Asian Championship and Olympics qualifying round in Kyrgyzstan there we saw strong nations had fielded their strong pool in the Olympics qualifiers and they tested their second and third strings in the Asian Championship. These were those athletes whom they have targeted for the 2028 Olympics,” Inam said.

“We we will have to shortlist the athletes and allocate a specific budget to meet the expenses of foreign coaches, foreign training and international exposure,” he said. “This selected crop should not miss any international event during the next four years and you will see that more than half of the lot will qualify for the 2028 Olympics. And there we can also win three or four medals,” he said.

In Paris Olympics Pakistan will be fielding only seven athletes. Those who have qualified are the country’s premier javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem, and shooters Ghulam Mustafa Bashir, Joseph Gulfam and Kishmala Talat. Sprinter Faiqa Riaz and swimmers Mohammad Ahmed Durrani and Jehanara Nabi will feature on wild cards.