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September 4, 2020

Shah Hussain to resume training at Tsukuba University from next week

Sports

September 4, 2020

KARACHI: Olympian judoka Shah Hussain will resume his training at Tsukuba University Tokyo from next week to prepare for Olympics qualifiers.

“Yes, I will re-join Tsukuba University next week due to restrictions on training at the Police Centre Tokyo which according to my knowledge will remain close for training until the end of this year,” Shah told ‘The News’ from Tokyo on Thursday.

“The Police Centre was the ideal place for training purposes as world champions used to train there and it always was helpful,” Shah said. “In Japan judo is compulsory for police personnel,” Shah said.

“The big issue with me is that I have no department here. I play for Pakistan and it’s not easy to join any centre in the COVID-19 scenario. But yes there will be no issue for me in joining Tsukuba University as I have studied there. Besides, I am also a popular fighter in Japan,” the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver medallist said.

“Some world champions also turn up at Tsukuba but they are of lower weight categories,” said Shah, who competes in -100 kg weight category.

Following lockdowns in many countries around the world, International Judo Federation (IJF) recently announced the return of the World Judo Tour starting with the Budapest Grand Slam which will take place in late October and will be followed by the Tokyo Grand Slam in December. The World Judo Masters will be held in the beginning of 2021 in Doha, Qatar. All three events offer qualification points for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games. The continental unions are also planning the organisation of several continental events before the end of the year. The IJF has stressed that this schedule is tentative and can be reviewed.

Already having Olympics experience, Shah Hussain, if trained properly, can fight for a medal in what could be his last Olympics.

“Yes, events have been announced but these are tentative. I am preparing. I have also talked to the Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF),” said Shah, who became the first judo fighter from Pakistan to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics after achieving continental quota. He has again achieved that quota and aims to further improve his ranking as he is to take part in a number of qualifying events until Olympics. He can also qualify directly for the Olympics. If he fails to do that, maintaining his current continental slot will earn him a seat in Tokyo Olympics.

PJF vice-president and media director Masood Ahmad said that effort would be made to field him in every event. “We will try to field him in every qualifying event,” Masood told ‘The News’.

“Besides the Budapest, Tokyo and Doha events in the next few months we also plan to field him in the Asia and Oceania Judo Championships in Mongolia in November,” Masood said.

He said that PJF has already requested PSB to support Shah’s three-month training in Hungary.

About sending Shah to Korea, Masood said they can also think about that. “Korea is very close to Japan and it would not be that expensive. We will check training prospects there and then will decide,” said Masood.

The PJF is waiting for the opening of registration for the Budapest event to be held at the end of October. “We are waiting for that data-base to open,” Masood said.