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June 28, 2018

Asian Games: Pak coaches say they need two more weeks to prepare boxers


June 28, 2018

KARACHI: With the Asian Games less than two months away national boxing coaches will take at least two more weeks to work on the conditioning of the national boxers in the camp at Islamabad.

“The boys are not in good shape and it will take us at least two weeks more to work on conditioning,” a Pakistan coach told ‘The News’ from Islamabad on Wednesday.

“The experienced boxers are in slightly good shape, but the rest are far away from the required fitness level,” the coach was quick to add.

As many as four coaches have been given the task to prepare men’s and women’s teams for the competitions.

They are Ali Bakhsh, Arshad Hussain, Mohammad Ramzan and Tariq Gujjar. But Tariq is yet to join the camp which began on June 20.

As many as 18 boys and six girls are training at the Pakistan Sports Complex, Islamabad, for the quadrennial extravaganza which is slated to be held in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2.

The late start of the camp has forced the coaches to run against time to prepare a fighting lot for the most difficult event of the continent.

In the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, Mohammad Waseem, who has now turned pro, won bronze in the flyweight category.

It was after 12 years that any Pakistani secured a medal in the Asian Games. The country’s pugilists had bagged one gold, four silver and one bronze in the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

The coach was, however, optimistic that they would be able to bring the lot into a perfect shape. “We are working hard,” the coach said.

“A tour of Iran is being planned. And if we get two or three weeks training there then it will enable the boys to prepare well,” the coach said.

He said that Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Arif Ibrahim had promised every kind of support. “The DG has told us that the Board would help us in every matter. A new enriched diet menu is being prepared which will make the boys fitter,” the coach said.

Pakistan boxers miserably failed in the 21st Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in April. Asian Games will also be tough for the national pugilists who have been struggling for the last few years in international circuit.

Pakistan is expected to field six male and one or two female boxers in Indonesia.

The male boxers will be fielded in the initial seven weights as light heavyweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight are not part of the Asian Games.

Pakistan’s seasoned boxer Awais Ali Khan, who plays in the light heavyweight, will not be part of the Asian Games.

However, he has been kept in the camp in Islamabad as a sparring partner for the boxers in 75 kg category.

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