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August 21, 2019

Saadi to feature in Karate 1 Premier League in Tokyo

Sports

August 21, 2019

KARACHI: With a surge in his Olympics ranking following his participation in the Asian Karate Championships, Pakistan’s premier karateka and sole 2020 Olympics hope Saadi Abbas will now feature in the Karate 1 Premier League which is to be held in Tokyo from September 6-8.

“Yes, that’s my next target,” Saadi told ‘The News’ on Tuesday. “Because of my wedding issues, I could not train the way I should have but now I am fully focussed on the event in Japan. I am going to feature in the National Karate Championships which is being held in Lahore from August 23-25,” said Saadi, who has reached Lahore for the national event.

He said that he had missed Canada Open, and would not like to miss any other event as it was very important to ensure his presence in every assignment which would help him confirm his Olympic seat.

Saadi recently reached 18th spot as per Olympics ranking. He needs to be among the top five fighters at the end of the qualifying phase next year. Pakistan Karate Federation’s (PKF) chairman Mohammad Jehangir told ‘The News’ that he expected a lot from Saadi as he was their lone hope for the next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Qualifying for Olympics would be a great feat from the Dubai-based fighter as he has solid credentials as a karateka, having won the Commonwealth Championship title twice, the Asian Championships and the US Open titles besides claiming silver in the Baku Islamic Games.

Jehangir said that the Indus Motor Company (IMC) was helping Saadi participate in every Olympic qualifying event. Saadi plays in -75 kilogramme competitions. In the National Championship in Lahore, he will represent WAPDA.

Jehangir said that as the government had not sponsored camps for the South Asian Games, departments’ camps for the National Championship would also help the fighters prepare for the South Asian Games.

National Games are slated to be held in Peshawar from October 26 to November 1. South Asian Games are pencilled in for December 1-10 in Nepal’s cities of Kathamndu and Pokhara. Besides the Tokyo assignment, Saadi in the next few months will have to feature in a handful of Series A and Premier League events.

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