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March 9, 2018

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Nooh confident he will win gold in CW Games

KARACHI: Pakistan’s prolific young weightlifter Nooh Dastagir Butt on Thursday said that he would win gold in the Commonwealth Games, pencilled in for April 4-15 in Gold Coast, Australia. “I am training hard and will InshaAllah win gold,” the 20-year-old Nooh told ‘The News’ in an interview from Gujranwala. Nooh will represent Pakistan in the quadrennial event in the +105 kilogramme weight category. Last year he clinched gold in the junior category and silver in the senior category competitions of the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in Gold Coast. He broke the Commonwealth Championships junior record by lifting 389kg weight in total. Nooh is training at the gym of his father Ghulam Dastagir in Gujranwala. “I have opted to train here at our own gym. The basic thing here is that I can take good food which is very important,” the athlete said. Other weightlifters are training at the Pakistan Sports Complex, Islamabad, under the supervision of coaches Ilyas Butt and Ali Aslam. Nooh is practising in his own gym but his training is regularly monitored by a senior official of Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWF). “I regularly visit his gym and keep a close eye on his growth. I am satisfied with his training and progress,” PWF secretary Amjad Amin Butt told ‘The News’. Butt said that Nooh had enormous potential and could spring surprise in the Commonwealth Games. “He is a gutsy boy and can do wonders in Australia,” Butt hoped. Nooh feels that weightlifters of a few countries could be dangerous. “The athletes of India, Samoa and New Zealand could be tough opponents,” Nooh said. Pakistan plans to field seven weightlifters in the Commonwealth Games. The others finalised for the tour are Abu Sufyan (69kg), Commonwealth top seed in snatch Talha Talib (62kg), Usman Amjad Rathore (94kg) and Abdullah Ghafoor (56kg). Jameel Akhtar (105kg) and Haider Ali (77kg) have been kept in the reserve squad. The two were facing some fitness issues

which forced the PWF to keep them in reserve. “We are closely watching their growth and their fate will be decided a few days before the Commonwealth Games,” Butt said. “We want to send those who could put in their best in Australia. My son Abdur Rehman (85kg) had qualified for the Commonwealth Games but I did not pick him as I did not expect from him a medal in Australia,” Butt said. To a query, Butt said that he did not want to disturb Nooh at this stage by sending him to the camp in Islamabad. “I think it’s better for him to train at his own gym. Shifting him at this stage would be risky as it is not easy for an athlete to acclimatise so quickly,” Butt said. When asked about the quality of food being given to weightlifters, Butt said the Board was doing its best. “The Board is doing its best and we also contribute in order to ensure our athletes get the required diet,” Butt said. Pakistan will take field in hockey, squash, athletics, swimming, wrestling, table tennis, badminton, boxing and shooting in the Commonwealth Games. In the last Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow in 2014, Pakistan’s performance in weightlifting was not good. Mohammad Shehzad (56kg) narrowly missed a silver medal, eventually finishing at the fourth place.

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