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2020 Olympics qualifying event: Saadi begins Series A campaign today


May 19, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan’s leading karateka Saadi Abbas will begin his journey at the Karate-I Series A in Istanbul on Sunday (today) when he faces Almaazmi Muntasir Abdullah of Egypt in -75 kilogramme men’s kumite event.

The Series A is one of the qualifying events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in which the entry is normally open with any fighter from around the world can showcase his talent at the major stage.

On the contrary, in the Premier League only the world’s leading 100 fighters can feature. In just Saadi’s weight category, there are 190 entries from 102 nations.

If Saadi is to get any medal, he will have to win eight fights on the trot. He is the only fighter from Pakistan who has been seen ensuring his presence in most of the qualifying events for Olympics.

After Series A in Turkey, Saadi will have to feature in four Premier Leagues, two more Series A, Asian Championship, Shanghai Open and he might also have to appear in the Olympic qualification event next year whose top three fighters will qualify for the Olympics.

Although Saadi’s mission is tough but the way the Karachi-born fighter is handling the situation there is a chance that he would make the cut for the world’s most prestigious event.

In an interview with ‘The News’ few days ago, Saadi had told this correspondent from Istanbul that he will try his level best to come in top five fighters of the world at the end of this year.

There as ten Olympic spots up for grabs in Saadi’s weight category. Saadi also claimed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) scholarship of 3000 US dollars. However, he will need some sponsors for the coming events.

“We are trying to seek some support for Saadi as he is our sole hope,” Pakistan Karate Federation (PKF) chairman Mohammad Jehangir told ‘The News’ on Saturday.

“I will also request the government to back him, especially for the Asian Championship,” Jehangir said.

Saadi has a superb record. He has won the Commonwealth Championship title twice. He is also the former Asian champion and the US Open gold medallist. He had also lifted silver in the Baku Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017.

Saadi lives in Dubai, mostly manages sponsors for himself and trains with the UAE national team because of his long association with the Dubai’s major clubs.