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April 20, 2019

Pakistan begin journey in Asia-Pacific Judo today


April 20, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan will begin their journey in the Asia-Pacific Judo Championships at Fujairah, UAE, on Saturday (today).

On the opening day, Pakistan’s Tokyo-based fighter Amina Toyoda will begin her medal quest with a fight against Elalmi Hadeel of Jordan in the preliminaries of -57 kg on Saturday (today). Amina reached semi-finals in the Asian Cadet event, but then was dogged by injuries for quite some time. It is a good chance for the daughter of a Tokyo-based businessman Liaquat Ali to impress at the biggest stage.

Japan-based Olympian Shah Hussain will begin what could be a tough journey when he faces Sekine Kiyotaka in the preliminary round of the -100 kg competition on Monday. The winner of the bout will face Tajikistan’s Saidov Saidzhalol in the pre-quarter-finals. Saidov got bye in the first round as per draws unveiled on Friday. Shah is currently ranked 128th in the world. Sekine is ranked is 62nd. The Japanese is more active in international circuit than Shah because the latter has been facing economic problems.

Shah has done well for Pakistan during the last few years. He is not only the silver medallist of the Commonwealth Games but he also has to his credit three gold medals in South Asian events and bronze in the Asian Championships.

Shah created history when he became the first judoka of Pakistan to compete at Olympics. Shah moved into the world’s most prestigious event held in 2016 in Rio on the basis of continental quota.

Shah’s father Hussain Shah told ‘The News’ from Japan on Friday that his son had prepared well for the Asian event. "Shah has worked very hard and I hope he will deliver in Fujairah," Hussain said.

Shah Hussain said he had worked very hard and would live up to the expectations. "I have worked very hard and would try to impress," Shah told this correspondent from Fujairah.

Pakistan Judo Federation’s (PJF) vice-president Masood Ahmed told ‘The News’ from Fujairah on Friday that both the fighters were upbeat. "The morale of both the fighters is high. Shah may face a tough journey but I think Amina can win a couple of bouts," Masood said.

Qaiser Afridi, another rookie sensation, was sure to feature in this event but injury forced him out. The continental event is also a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Shah’s Olympics and world rankings have plunged. A smart show in Fujairah may help him improve his ranking. Shah will have to feature in many qualifying events by the end of May 2020 if he is to compete at Tokyo Olympics.

Shah and Amina trained in Tokyo under their respective local coaches. After featuring in the continental event, Shah will come to Pakistan to join Army’s camp for the National Championship.

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