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March 21, 2020

Pakistan’s boxing needs a shot in the arm, says coach Arshad

Sports

March 21, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan’s boxing coach and former Olympian Arshad Hussain on Friday said that the country’s boxing needs a massive push.

“Of course, our boxing needs a massive push as we are struggling,” Arshad told ‘The News’ in an informal chat from Abbottabad. “We will need to form a base, containing colts and juniors in abundance and those should be trained under a systematic manner. This is the only way to revive boxing in the country,” Arshad said.

A few days ago Pakistan had fielded three boxers in the Asian Qualifiers for Tokyo Olympics in Jordan but all failed to impress. Arshad was coach of Pakistan. National pugilists had to undergo training at the Army Sports Complex Rawalpindi because of no state patronage as the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) had denied state assistance to the pugilists for the most vital assignment.

Arshad said that they have just a few boys who are capable to feature in top-level international events. “We have just a few boys who are capable to impress in international circuit if trained properly. The rest have no vitality,” he was quick to add.

Arshad said that only federation cannot revive boxing unless state gives its huge input in the project. “A huge money is needed for reviving boxing,” he said.

“In Jordan’s qualifiers we saw how other nations are investing massively in boxing, while our boxers are pining for getting a training place for preparation for a big event,” Arshad said. “Look at India; its boxers were in Italy for six months before arriving in Jordan for the qualifiers. Before that they had trained in Russia. Such types of steps would be needed to revive the game,” Arshad said.

Pakistan last featured in 2004 Athens Olympics in boxing. Arshad said after devolution provinces should play their role in boxing development. “The provinces have huge budget for sports and they should back the relevant boxing associations in their bids to develop boxing,” he said.

“Look, Army through young sportsman scheme produced numbers of top boxers. If provinces through the technical support of federation work seriously then I hope we will get potential nursery in the next few years,” he added. He said that he would advise the federation to hold national level youth events constantly and pick the best lot from them for future grooming.

About the world qualifying round for Tokyo Olympics, Arshad said if top boxers are sent to Jordan, Thailand or Philippines for training then there will be some hope. “A few of our boxers can still qualify provided they are sent for training either to Jordan, Thailand and Philippines because these countries are not that much expensive,” Arshad said.

“Jordan is better than us and is safe from COVID-19 and we can also get a good sparring in Thailand and Philippines,” he remarked. Because of the threats of COVID-19 world qualifiers fate is yet be confirmed. Earlier these were scheduled to be held in Paris in May.

Arshad hoped that if federation is able to conduct the planned professional league it will be a big boost to boxing. “If it is held by the end of this year it will be a great boost as boxers will also earn money and it will leave a good impact on the sport,” he concluded.