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January 10, 2020

Saadi to train in Turkey before final qualification event

Sports

January 10, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan’s star karateka and Olympics hope Saadi Abbas on Thursday said that his plan was to undergo one-month training under the supervision of a Turkish coach in Turkey before the final qualification event of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which will be held in Paris in May.

“That’s the plan. After featuring in a handful of qualifying events I will try to manage a Turkey tour for myself for one month duration ahead of the last qualifying event in Paris in May,” Saadi told ‘The News’ from Dubai. “I plan to train in Turkey under a Turkish coach and will then move to Paris for the final event along with a Turkish coach,” he added.

Saadi has a solid chance of qualifying for this year’s Tokyo Olympics. He is training these days in Dubai. He joined a new club Kalba FC in the UAE recently. “Yes, it’s my new club. The issue was that the club needed my support as here the fighters are not that good. I agreed to work with the club because I also need some financial support. Now here I will train the boys and I will also train for the qualifiers. I will also be able to invite good boys here for training from abroad and that too will help me,” the two-time Commonwealth Championship gold medallist said.

Saadi, a former Asian champion, said that he had a good chance of making it to the Olympics. “I have a good chance to qualify for Olympics,” said Saadi who recently won gold in the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal. Saadi, also a US Open champion, will create history for Pakistan if he qualifies for the world’s most prestigious event.

Saadi will feature in a number of qualifying events in the next few months: the Karate-1 Premier League to be held this month in Paris; the Karate-1 Premier League in Dubai in February; the third qualifying event in Rabat in March; the Premier League in Spain in April; and the final qualifying event in Paris in May.

It would be a good boost to Pakistan’s contingent for Olympics if Saadi made it to the grand event. So far five Pakistani players have qualified for Tokyo 2020: shooters Gulfam Joseph, Ghulam Mustafa Bashir and Khalil Akhtar, javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem and Usman Khan (equestrian).

National boxers are yet to compete in the qualifying events. Olympian judoka Shah Hussain is also set to qualify for Olympics as he holds the top spot in Asia and if he maintains his current ranking which is 42 he may easily qualify for Olympics through continental quota.