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July 9, 2018

Asian Karate Championships: Pak karate squad leaves for Jordan tomorrow


July 9, 2018

KARACHI: Hoping to win some medals in the 15th Asian Karate Championships, Pakistan karate squad will fly out of Islamabad for Jordan on Tuesday (tomorrow).

The event is slated to be held at Prince Rashed Martial Arts Centre, Al Hussein Sports City, Amman, from July 12-15.

On July 11, fighters will be registered. The fights will begin the next day, a senior official of Pakistan Karate Federation (PKF) told ‘The News’ from Lahore on Sunday.

The touring party comprises Saadi Abbas (-75kg), Naseer Ahmed (-67kg), Zafar Iqbal (-60kg), Mohammad Kashif (-55kg), Israr-ul-Haq (individual kata), Kulsoom (-68kg) and Qurat-ul-Ain (+68kg). Shah Mohammad will accompany the squad as coach cum manager.

International referee Naseem Qureshi will also go with the squad to deliver his services as referee. He will also serve in Asian Games pencilled in for August 18 to September 2 in Indonesia.

PKF chairman Mohammad Jehangir will also go to Jordan to attend the Executive Committee meeting of the Asian Karate Federation (AKF) to be held on July 11.

Jehangir said that amendment to the Asian body’s constitution and 18th Asian Games were on the agenda.

He said AKF elections to be held next year would also come under discussion.

Dubai-based top Pakistani fighter Saadi is expected to pull off a medal in the continental showpiece in which more than 450 fighters from 45 countries will be showcasing their talent.

“Saadi is a great fighter and I hope he will deliver in the Asian Championships,” Jehangir said.

He also expects stunning performance from Naseer. “Naseer is also a medal hope,” the official was quick to add.

Saadi won gold medal in the 2011 China Asian Karate Championships in -67kg (kumite).

He went on to grab bronze in 2012 Uzbekistan and 2013 Dubai editions.

He failed to win a medal in the 2015 Yokohama, Japan, edition. He missed the 2017 edition in Kazakhstan due to visa issue.

“It’s my habit to keep my expectations low but I am confident some medals will come InshaAllah,” Jehangir said.

Pakistan karate squad has been training in Islamabad since June 20. Before that the fighters trained in Lahore before Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) decided to stop camps on May 15 citing lack of resources.

The fighters had to train individually until the resumption of the camp.

Jehangir said that the event in Jordan would help the PKF select fighters for the Asian Games. “It will help us know where the fighters stand,” the official said.

Saadi has yet to grab a medal in the Asian Games.

“He has claimed three medals in the Asian Championships but is yet to win any in the Asian Games. We want him to achieve that milestone in Indonesia,” Jehangir said.

About the expected tour of Turkey to prepare for the Asian Games, he said the PKF had submitted its request with the PSB. “We are waiting for its response,” he added.

Meanwhile, the organisers have announced that the finishing touches have been given to three venues in Al Hussein Youth City in Jordan.

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