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August 7, 2019

Within 10 year ‘Pakistan can win Olympic medals if govt supports’


August 7, 2019

KARACHI: A senior official of Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PWF) on Tuesday said if the state focussed on wrestling for ten years he could guarantee that the nation would start winning medals at Olympics.

“Pakistan is brimming with such a huge talent that if the state keeps financing the sport for ten consecutive years and the sport is run on scientific basis I can guarantee that the nation will begin winning Olympic medals,” PWF secretary Arshad Sattar told ‘The News’ in an interview.

“Look at India. It has rich talent in Haryana and we have the same in some parts of Punjab. But India has focussed on wrestling and if you see its record in any major event it has got medals both in male and female categories,” Arshad pointed out.

“India has become so strong that it will win even more medals in next year’s Tokyo Olympics,” Arshad said.

He said when Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera was Director General of Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) he used to give them constant camps and that had yielded good results. “Because of those constant training camps in Ganjera’s tenure as DG PSB Pakistan had started pulling off medals in various competitions,” the official said.

“Look, Inayatullah won bronze in Youth Olympics and he was given Rs5 million by the state. He belongs to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and his feat and the reward he got as a result will motivate the youth in his area,” Arshad said.

He said in June the government gave PWF Rs1.5 million. He added that around Rs800,000 was deposited with various international bodies as entry fee and the rest of the amount could not even meet the expenses of Mohammad Inam’s two tours.

About the preparation for South Asian Games, Arshad said that the federation wrote a few times to the PSB for a camp but so far no positive response has been received.

“I request the PSB to hold our camp as soon as possible. We are to feature in the World Championships, World Beach Games, South Asian Games and in 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers,” Arshad said.

He said the PWF was unable to hold a camp on its own because of lack of sponsors. He said that Strawberry Sports Management had agreed to launch professional wrestling in Pakistan by November 2020.

“A week ago I held a meeting with the company’s chief executive. He told me that he would hold a wrestling league in August and September next year. I told him that the weather would not be good. I told him that he should launch it in October and November 2020 and he responded positively,” he said. “If the professional league is held then it will help federation earn around Rs7 million per year which will help it a lot,” Arshad said.

The PWF and Strawberry Sports Management agreement had been finalised in 2016 for ten years. The company has held a kabaddi league and is working on holding leagues of other sports disciplines.

About premier wrestler Mohammad Inam, Arshad said that he had developed a knee injury. “Inam developed a knee injury which forced him to take some rest. Now he has resumed his exercise and is working hard to regain top fitness as he has to feature in the World Beach Games to be held in October in Qatar,” Arshad said.

The World Beach Games were scheduled to be hosted by San Diego but have been shifted to Doha. Inam will be the only Pakistani athlete at the event. Inam qualified for the spectacle when he won silver medal in the World Series in Brazil a few months ago. Inam is also two-time world beach champion.