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December 16, 2019

Coach wants boxers training abroad for two months

Sports

December 16, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan's boxing coach Arshad Hussain on Sunday said that the country's leading boxers need foreign training for two months if they are to press for Olympics seats next year.

“Without a couple of months foreign training in countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Korea or Iran it would be very difficult for our boxers to press for Olympics seats,” Arshad told 'The News' in an interview.

The qualifiers will be held from February to May 2020 in China. Arshad was Pakistan's coach at the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal where national pugilists performed poorly, claiming only three silver and three bronze medals.

“I can assure you that a couple of our boxers can qualify for Tokyo 2020 if they are imparted desired training,” he stressed. “If they don't do sparring with the boxers better than them then how they could improve,” questioned Arshad, who represented Pakistan in 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

“The boxing authorities should field Syed Mohammad Asif, Gul Zeb, Naqeebullah, Sanaullah and Awais Ali Khan in the qualifiers as some of them can get through,” said Arshad, an AIBA 3-star coach.

Pakistan has only two AIBA 3-star coaches. Former Asian gold medallist Ali Bakhsh is the other. He has been Pakistan's coach. Arshad warned if Pakistan did not focus on its boxing then Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh would also leave them behind.

“Nepal took gold in SAG after 20 years. Previously Bangladeshi boxers hardly fough for one round, but they have improved a lot. Sri Lanka has produced some good boxers and these nations are leaving us behind,” Arshad warned. “India has too high a standard now. Before SAG in Nepal, India had held a boxing camp in Russia,” said Arshad, also the bronze medallist of the 1994 Canada Commonwealth Games.

“When Professor Anwar Chowdhry was PBF president he used to hold camps abroad for two or three months and we picked gold in various international events,” the coach said. “Only Quetta, Karachi and Army are producing boxers. In 1995, Army had started 'boys scheme' for different sports and top talent at young age was hunted down, looked after and polished. They were provided all kind of facilities. The scheme is still in vogue and that is helping Pakistan's boxing,” Arshad said.

“Karachi is brimming with talent and so is Quetta. No boxers are coming from Punjab, which is alarming,” Arshad said. “There is talent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and KP Boxing Association is doing well these days to find good boxers at a young age,” Arshad said.

To a query, Arshad said that he had taken boxers to Nepal for SAG in “zero form. You know after National Games boxers went home because of no camp and lost their form. I was not expecting medals from them, even the medals which they got,” Arshad revealed.

Arshad was also not satisfied with what is being done with coaches. “Coaches neither are given prize money when their players get medals at international level nor they are given salaries,” Arshad said.

During the 33rd National Games in Peshawar, a senior official of Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) told this correspondent that the federation would send boxers to Mongolia for training ahead of the Olympic qualifiers. Pakistan last featured in 2004 Athens Olympics in boxing.