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April 18, 2020

Talib concerned about players training on their own


April 18, 2020

KARACHI: Former international athlete and former trainer of Pakistan hockey and boxing teams Mohammad Talib on Thursday raised questions over the fitness level of the country’s players in general.

“Fitness has been a big issue of Pakistani players in general,” the former 110-metre hurdler told ‘The News’ in an interview. “Foreign cricket coaches have acknowledged talent in Pakistan but they have always been dissatisfied with the fitness of national cricketers,” Talib said. “The big problem is that the services of those people are not utilised here who are skilled and know how to develop fitness of the players which is the cardinal factor for a successful career of an athlete,” Talib said.

“There are eight components of fitness and even if one of them is ignored the athletes may get injured. They are stretching, flexibility training, strength, speed, endurance, equal variant, agility and body fate percentage,” said Talib, who has also been bestowed with Tamgha-e-Imtiaz.

“You will see a few doctors and physiotherapists working with the teams in Pakistan because of their links. Those who can improve fitness level of the players are always neglected. Pakistan also hired foreign trainers for various teams but the outcome was always short of the ideal,” Talib said.

He said that he is ready to train any team or any player if any federation or board wants his services. He also warned Pakistan players who are training in lockdown without trainers and coaches, saying they might get injured.

“Experienced players may train safely and according to the rules but young players may get injured in gyms if they train without the supervision of trainers and coaches,” Talib said. He mentioned Pakistan’s former bowling coach Azhar Mehmood who said that Hasan Ali injured himself in gym rather than working on the field.

Azhar has said that Hasan tried to lift 130 kg weight instead of 100kg and that caused his injury in the gym. “You cannot train on your own unless you know exactly the way how to train. It is the responsibility of coaches and trainers to train their players only under their supervision. Any wrong exercise may pose a real threat to a player’s career,” Talib said.

“In lockdown players should take care while training. They should keep in mind the nature of their environment where they train at their homes. If the surface is level or not. The surface which is not level may injure a player,” Talib said.

“Those who undergo training on stairs should keep in mind their stairs are of standard quality or not. And they also must see that their stairs are of standard length or not. If not they should avoid training on them,” he said. He extended an offer to all Pakistan players, saying that they can get his tips if they want so to keep themselves fit while staying at their homes.

He said that in lockdown athletes should take care of their weight. “They should take light food which will help them avoid any weight gain. They should also drink a lot of water,” he said. He also advised athletes not to think much about the COVID-19 pandemic. “The players should keep themselves away from stress. If they are under stress it may cause injuries,” said Talib, who took 110-metre hurdles golds in the 1966 Lahore National Games and 4x100 metre relay gold in the 1968 Dhaka National Games. He also took one silver and one bronze in National Games.

In 1966 he played in Bangkok Asian Games and also toured Italy in 1959 to feature in the World Universities Games. In 1984 he did training course in Los Angeles and in 1978-79 he topped the coaching course in Germany in which 14 nations took part.

After returning from Germany he was tasked to train Pakistan’s athletes for an event in China and after one and a half month training Talib’s team set a new national record in the 4x400metre relay in 1980.

He remained Pakistan hockey team trainer from 1980 to 1988 and Pakistan boxing team trainer from 1992 to 2004.

Trained by Talib, national boxers won ten golds in the 2004 Islamabad South Asian Games. When Talib was trainer of Pakistan hockey and boxing teams the nation took 29 gold medals in international circuit.

Talib also was recommended in 2019 by the Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) for the pride of performance award but its fate is not yet known. Talib opened a fitness centre in Karachi in 1977. General Zia-ul-Haq visited the centre during a national championship and said that the state would forever support the centre. However, now the state is not backing it. “I will continue to run it till the last breath of my life even if there is no cooperation from the government,” Talib said.