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September 8, 2020

Boxing coach wants Olympic qualifiers camp in October

Sports

September 8, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan’s boxing coach Arshad Hussain on Monday said that the country’s boxing governing body (PBF) should hold a camp by the first week of October to prepare the national lot for the world qualifying round for Olympics to be held in Paris in May and June next year.

“The boys have not had proper practice since March because of the lockdown, so I would suggest to the PBF to hold a camp as soon as possible,” Arshad told ‘The News’. “If they are able to start it in early October it will be good,” he said.

“As a coach I know that minimum three months will be required for bringing the boys into shape. I don’t know how fit they are and how much they have trained during lockdown,” said Arshad, an AIBA 3-star coach.

Last month during an interview with ‘The News’, the PBF secretary had said that the federation plans to hold the camp for the qualifiers after the National Championship in December. But Arshad said that that would be too late. “You know Olympic qualifiers are a tough event and for that foreign nations work for years. We have time now, but delaying would be dangerous for us as we then would not be able to prepare solidly,” Arshad said.

Under Arshad, Pakistani pugilists featured in the Asian qualifying round in Jordan early this year but failed to impress. Keeping in view the COVID-19 issue, Arshad said that the camp is possible in a bio-secure environment. “Training in bio-secure environment is possible. The state should help PBF in undertaking the task which is very important for Pakistan’s boxing,” Arshad said.

“Islamabad Sports Complex has two hostels and has good training facilities. If that is not possible Army Physical and Training Centre in Abbottabad is also an option because every facility is there,” he said.

Arshad said that Pakistan has some good boys in the lower and heavy weights and the country can fight for Olympic seats. “We have a few good fighters in the lower weights and a couple of good ones in the heavyweights. If we provide them top training success is possible,” he said.

However, he was quick to add that quality sparring would be required if the boys were to prepare for top contests.

“World qualifying round will be tough and we will need our boys to train with some top boxers from other countries. Either we should go abroad or we should invite three to four countries to Pakistan for joint training,” Arshad said.

The PBF secretary Col Nasir Tung told this correspondent last month that Jordan had been requested and they were expected to send their boxers to Pakistan. “That would be good but we should invite a few more nations as it is the best stage to invite foreign boxers for joint training as all countries are focussed on their Olympics targets,” Arshad said.

Pakistan last featured in Olympics boxing in 2004 in Athens. Arshad also suggested to the PBF to keep some more boxers in the camp for Olympic qualifiers to help the nation to prepare for the 14th South Asian Games which Pakistan would host in early 2022. “If we invite 20 boys and ten girls and hold a joint camp it will be more suitable. One coach will focus on boxers to be fielded in the Olympic qualifiers and the rest of the coaches will focus on the stuff for South Asian Games,” he said.

Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has been ignoring PBF for the last few years. It did not give the federation any grant although it gave to some other federations. Pakistan was considered a heavyweight in the discipline in Asia. Former AIBA and PBF chief Professor Anwar Chowdhry played a great role in Pakistan’s boxing development. However, since his demise boxing has been facing tough time, with several departments abolishing their boxing teams.