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Pakistan can qualify for World Beach Games Handball: Shafiq

January 16, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan Handball Federation’s (PHF) president Mohammad Shafiq on Tuesday said that Pakistan has the chance to qualify for the World Beach Games and World Beach Championships if state supported the federation for the Asian qualifying round.

“No doubt we have chance to make it to both the World Beach Games and World Beach Championships. But we need state support for fielding our team in the Asian qualifiers to be held in China next summer,” Shafiq told ‘The News’ in an interview.

The Asian Qualifiers will be held from June 15-22 at Weihai, China. The China event serves as qualifiers for both the World Beach Games and World Beach Championships. One team from the continental qualifiers will make it to the World Beach Games slated to be held in San Diego, United States, in October, 2019. The World Beach Championships will be held in 2020 in Italy. Shafiq said that the federation had requested Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for special grant for the purpose, adding, it was a resource-intensive tour and would be a big problem for the federation to field its team without the state support.

However he added that the federation would also contribute to the aid of the state to ensure participation of Pakistan team.He said that PHF would confirm Pakistan’s participation in the qualifiers only after the government would earmark grant for the purpose.

“The issue is if we withdraw after we confirm our entry and draws are also held then we will face a huge penalty which is normally more than the participation cost,” said Shafiq, who is also the secretary of Asian Handball Federation (AHF). Pakistan has a solid record in the beach handball in Asia. Pakistan is the only country of Asia which has never returned without a medal from the Asian Beach Games.

Pakistan won gold in the 2007 Asian Beach Handball Championship in Iran. The country then lifted gold in the 1st Asian Beach Games in 2008 in Indonesia before claiming tenth position in the World Beach Championships held the same year in Spain.

The Green-shirts then finished sixth in the 2009 Chinese Taipei World Games, won silver in the 2nd Asian Beach Games in Oman in 2010, secured bronze in the 3rd Asian Beach Games in China in 2012, lifted bronze in the 2014 4th Asian Beach Games in Thailand and won bronze in the fifth and last Asian Beach Games in Vietnam in 2016.Shafiq said the federation was desperately waiting for the decision of the government.

About the camp he said that effort would be made to hold it two to three months before the qualifiers. Shafiq is also seeking for a possibility of sending the team abroad for training ahead of the qualifiers.

“It’s not difficult. We can even arrange a training tour for free,” Shafiq said. He made it clear that Qatar had been a strong side in beach handball, having got services of players from Africa and Europe.

“There is only one hall in Islamabad. For holding an Asian Championship we need at least two halls,” Shafiq said. However he was quick to add that Pakistan could host IHF Trophy.