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August 6, 2020

Shah plans to train in Abbottabad ahead of Olympics

Sports

August 6, 2020

KARACHI: Olympian judoka Shah Hussain on Wednesday said that he plans to train for around one month at Abbottabad ahead of next year’s Tokyo Olympics in order to build stamina and power.

“When I went to Abbottabad for 33rd National Games last year I found that place ideal for building stamina and power which I will need during high voltage showdowns during Olympics,” Shah told ‘The News’ from Japan in an interview.

“Abbottabad is at a high altitude. I found that a perfect training place as it has all facilities like gym, running track and judo mat,” Shah said.

“I will not require any coach there but will need a few sparring partners. I can do sparring with the Pakistan’s best fighters including Qaiser Afridi and Hamid,” Shah said.

Shah, who created history by qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics, has already achieved continental quota in -100kg and will need a slight push during the rest of the qualifying rounds to maintain that.

He said that he feels confident of his place in Olympics. “I have already achieved continental quota and it will not be an issue for me to keep it. Featuring in three or four qualifying events will be okay as I will need some fights ahead of Olympics,” said Shah, who stands at the 42nd place in IJF Olympic rankings.

He also said that before going into Olympics he would like to tour Europe for training. “I want to train in Europe for at least two months where I will do sparring before moving to Pakistan to spend the remaining days ahead of Olympics in Abbottabad,” Shah said.

His morale has not been dented by the COVID-19 pandemic and the problems caused by it for athletes around the world. “The pandemic is tough to face as restrictions are there but it has not demoralised me and has not shaken my confidence. It has rather strengthened my resolve,” Shah said.

Shah eyes a medal in the Olympics which have been shifted to 2021 because of the COVID-19. “I will go all out and will try to snare an Olympic medal for the country,” he said.

He said that he has achieved top fitness during workout despite coronavirus. “I have been working very hard on my physical fitness and I feel that I am now in top shape as I was last year. Yes, sparring-wise I will need hard training which is not possible right now because of the restrictions,” Shah said.

“If we started from now then it would be pretty good but it does not seem likely,” Shah was quick to add.

He has strong chances of winning a medal in Tokyo. If he is fielded in the rest of the qualifying rounds he can even directly qualify for the Olympics.

Shooters Ghulam Mustafa Bashir, Khalil Akhtar and Gulfam Joseph are among those Pakistanis who have made it to Tokyo Olympics. The others are javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem and Melbourne-based horse-rider Usman Khan, who currently holds the top spot in the Africa and Middle East zone.