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January 22, 2019

Qualifying for Tokyo 2020: Confident Inam seeks govt, corporate sector support

Sports

January 22, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan’s premier wrestler Mohammad Inam on Monday said that he was in good form and had the ability to make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics if the government provided him quality training opportunity abroad for a few months.

“I can do that but I need government’s assistance. The time is slipping out of our hands,” Inam told ‘The News’ in an interview.“Playing in Olympics is the dream of every athlete. It is much better to qualify than playing in Olympics on wild card. But how it will be done is a big question,” Inam said.

“I need quality training if I have to earn a berth in the world’s biggest competitions. We can only raise voice through our federation and Pakistan Olympic Association (POA). If still the government does not support us then we can do nothing,” Inam said.

He revealed that he was also seeking help of the corporate sector and was negotiating with a party which had promised to him three-month training in Russia.“We are doing our best to finalise the deal with that party. It would help me a lot in my mission to prepare for Olympic qualifiers,” the grappler said.

The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and two-time beach world champion said since the Asian Games a complete hiatus had been seen in Pakistan’s sports.“Nothing has been done since the Asian Games. I am a fighter and it is my job to play, but it is the government’s responsibility to manage facilities. It is the job of the government to help the athletes in their build-up,” Inam said.

Besides Olympics qualifiers, Inam will feature in the World Beach Games to be held in San Diego, the United States, in October.He has qualified for the World Beach Games as he won his second successive World Beach Championship title in Turkey last year.

“In April there is an Asian Championship in Xian, China. There is also a World Championship this year. In May I want to feature in an international beach event in Italy. As I will take part in the World Beach Games so it is very important to also feature in a beach event,” Inam said.

He made it clear that he did not want anybody to give him money. He added he only wanted support in the form of training tours. “When the PTI took over, we were very happy that since it was headed by a former star player the government would focus on sports but it seems that nothing is being done,” Inam added.

He said when he clinched the World Beach Championship title in 2017 the government gave him Rs500,000 which he spent on his club as he wanted youngsters to undergo training and learn about wrestling.“But when I defended my world title last year nobody even congratulated me. It’s really discouraging for an athlete who sacrifices his life for the country,” Inam lamented.

He plans to compete for Rustam-e-Pakistan title next month. “There were no international engagements and I thought why I should not feature in the biggest mud-wrestling event, which is held by Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PWF). It’s an open event with no weight restriction. This type of wrestling is losing popularity and so I thought if I feature in such an event it will promote this type of wrestling. I have won five competitions and will play for title next month,” Inam said.