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December 14, 2019

Talha Talib, Nooh Dastgir to be supported for Olympic qualification


December 14, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWF) plans to provide ample opportunity to the country’s leading weightlifters Talha Talib and Nooh Dastgir Butt to press for Olympics seats.

“Although both the weightlifters are a bit down in rankings, anything can happen,” PWF secretary Amjad Amin Butt told ‘The News’ on Friday. “We will try our best to field them in a few events before April 30, the date when the qualifying phase ends,” he added.

Both Talha (67kg) and Nooh (+109kg) recently won gold medals at the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal. Talha is currently ranked 21st in the world. Nooh’s ranking is 33. Both have impressed in the international circuit.

“We will field them in the 5th International Fajr Cup which will be hosted by Iran from February 1-5. And the next big event is Asian Championships which will be hosted by Kazakhstan from April 16-25 in Nur Sultan. The continental event is more important and we still have time to prepare them,” Butt said.

Howeve,r Butt did not seem quite sure if both the athletes would be backed by the government. “I will request the government to support them. If the government cannot hold a training camp for the duo in Islamabad then it should hold it somewhere in Punjab,” Butt added.

“If the government does not offer help, we will seek sponsors then. But it is our plan to give them every opportunity to press for Olympics seats,” Butt said. “If they fail to qualify, then no issue. At least they will learn and will know their capability which will help them press for Olympics seats in future,” Butt said.

In seven weights, 98 weightlifters will make it to the world’s most prestigious extravaganza. Three shooters and one javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem have so far made it to the Tokyo Games. Arshad recently managed a world-level throw of 86.92m at the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal to make it to the Olympics.

Pakistan hockey team once again failed to make it to the Olympics. Judoka Shah Hussain has also achieved continental quota and is on brink of qualifying for Olympics. He will have to maintain his top spot in Asia by scoring some more points by featuring in a handful of Olympics qualifying rounds before the end of May 2020.

A couple of Pakistani swimmers can also feature in the Games on wild cards. Boxers and taekwondo fighter Haroon Khan will also fight for Olympic seats next year. The country’s premier karateka Saadi Abbas also has a solid chance of making it to the Olympics.

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