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May 18, 2020

Hussain Shah urges PBF to send boxers to Kazakhstan for training

Sports

May 18, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan’s Olympic bronze medallist boxer Hussain Shah on Sunday advised the country’s boxing authorities (PBF) to send the top pugilists to Kazakhstan for two months training ahead of the World Qualifying round for Tokyo Olympics.

“It is extremely necessary to send a bunch of leading boxers to Kazakhstan for two months ahead of the world qualifying round,” Hussain Shah told ‘The News’ in an interview from Japan.

Hussain is the only boxer in Pakistan’s history who has picked bronze medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. “Kazakhstan is the best training centre and national pugilists can learn a lot there ahead of the tough assignment,” Hussain said.

Besides claiming Olympic bronze Hussain also has to his credit Asian Championship gold, Asian Games silver and gold in five consecutive South Asian Games. He is currently training professional boxers in Japan. Hussain said that before sending to Kazakhstan one month training camp in Pakistan should be held and trainers should only focus on physical fitness of the fighters.

“One month top physical training will be necessary before going to Kazakhstan. Coaches Ali Bakhsh and Arshad Hussain and Bahrain-based Zaigham Maseel have the ability to train the boxers well. Once they come in top shape they should be sent abroad for sparring,” Hussain said.

“Without foreign training you cannot get the best out of the boxers,” he was quick to add. The world qualifying round was scheduled in Paris early this month but has been postponed for indefinite period due to outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Pakistan had sent three boxers to Jordan for the Asian qualifiers in March but they failed to impress. Arshad Hussain was Pakistan’s coach. Hussain said it would be of great help if Pakistani coaches have links with coaches of Kazakhstan.

“Links play role. If Pakistani coaches like Ali Bakhsh and Arshad Hussain have links with coaches in Kazakhstan then it would help as they with the help of local coaches will manage solid sparring partners for the national fighters and that would help the boxers,” he said.

Recalling his own preparatory phase ahead of the 1988 Olympics, Hussain said he was sent by the PBF to several countries.

“I cannot exactly recall how many countries I had visited for training but I remember that I had trained in several countries ahead of 1988 Olympics. The PBF president Professor Anwar Chowdhry had the capability to engage sponsors and that had helped me a lot,” he said.

“At that time I was lucky to have got a Cuban coach and that helped a lot,” said Hussain. “At that time there was no qualifying round but I was the top seed of Asia and so given chance to feature at the Olympics,” he added.

When asked whether he could help the national fighters if they are sent to Tokyo for training, Hussain said that in the same amount they would need to cover just the airfare expenses for the Japan tour, the PBF could manage the entire training programme for the boxers in Kazakhstan. “I am ready to help but Japan tour would be more expensive. With how much the PBF would have to spend on the Japan tour airfare, it could manage the whole tour of Kazakhstan in that amount,” Hussain said.

He added that it was high time to focus on boxing as it had a glorious past. “I am really sad to see boxing state in Pakistan. It should be promoted,” he said. Pakistan last featured in the 2004 Athens Olympics in boxing. And since then national fighters have been struggling to return to Olympic fold.