Monday December 06, 2021

PKF to focus on young lot, says Sarwar

March 25, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan’s performance in circle style kabaddi has been fairly solid, with the nation recently winning the World Cup in Lahore for the first time in history by beating India in a gripping final at the Punjab Stadium.

However, in Asian style Pakistan is losing its ground as Iran and South Korea are thundering to the top positions. In the last Asian Games in Indonesia in 2018 Iran emerged as champions for the first time in history when they beat South Korea in the final.

Keeping in view the decline, Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) has planned to focus on young lot. “We have planned to focus on young lot and have already begun hunting talent at the grassroots level,” PKF Secretary Mohammad Sarwar told ‘The News’ in an interview on Tuesday.

“Our main focus is on finding talent from 18-24 years of age. We have also planned to provide maximum international exposure to our young lot in order to prepare it for the future national duty,” said Sarwar, also the Secretary of Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF).

“We have also planned a couple of youth level national events which will help us find talent for the purpose,” Sarwar said. Sarwar said that the PKF has ambitious plans for the sport development, adding, vigorous work would be done on the game once the coronavirus issue is overcome.

He said in the next Asian Games Pakistan will finish in top two. “InshaAllah we will end in the top two in the next Asiad,” Sarwar said. He said that kabaddi has emerged as a strong brand in Pakistan, adding, its future seems bright.

“A huge number of people witnessed matches during the World Cup (circle style) recently in Lahore, Faisalabad and Gujrat. Sponsors were very happy as such a huge attendance was a turning point and I am confident kabaddi will grab the market in future and more sponsors will come to support the game,” Sarwar said.

He said that it was very difficult to host such a big event. “It was indeed very tough to organise the World Cup but both SBP and PKF made nice effort to make it a success. Foreign delegations especially appreciated our efforts and were very happy with all the arrangements. This has really boosted our morale as organisers and the same experience will help us in holding major events in future as well,” said Sarwar, also a former Pakistan captain.

He informed that some international events were postponed due to outbreak of coronavirus. “The World Cup qualifying round (Asian style) and Asian Championship (circle style) were postponed,” he said.

The World Cup qualifiers were scheduled to be held in Taiwan this month, while Asian Championship was slated to be held in Dubai in August. If coronavirus pandemic continues to spread it may hit kabaddi leagues in Europe as well. Several Pakistani players play in European leagues which usually begin in May. “The issue may hit leagues and our players may also suffer,” he said.