close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
March 9, 2021

Shah misses Tashkent Grand Slam for lack of funds

Sports

March 9, 2021

KARACHI: Financial problems denied the country’s premier Japan-based judoka Shah Hussain of an opportunity to feature in the Grand Slam held in Tashkent from March 5-7.

This correspondent has learnt that Shah’s entry was withdrawn just a day before the start of the event due to financial issues of the Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF).

The Tashkent event was an Olympic qualifier. This is the second Olympic qualifying event this year which Shah has missed. He had also missed the Grand Slam held in Tel Aviv from February 18-20.

Shah currently stands at the 48th spot in the Olympics rankings. Although he has earned an Olympic seat on the basis of the continental quota, as per rules he will have to maintain it until the end of the qualifiers. And for that he will need to feature in maximum Olympic qualifying events.

A PJF official told ‘The News’ that missing events is not good. He added he is hopeful the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) will fulfil its promise of supporting Shah’s Olympic mission.

“We have already submitted a summary with the PSB about what we need as far as our Olympic mission is concerned. The Board has already agreed to back our athletes. We are hopeful that the state will give its timely input which will pave the way, especially for Shah, to qualify for Olympics,” the official said.

The financial problems have also forced the PJF to revise its plan of sending Shah to Europe for training. “Yes, we wanted to send Shah to Budapest, Hungary, in March 2021 for three-month training. Yes, we had to revise it due to financial issues. Now we plan to send him to Europe in May,” the official said.

“In judo, the Olympics journey is very tough. One will have to remain very steadfast because of its long tenure which needs a massive financial input. Previously, too, we spent a lot of money on Shah which eventually paid dividends as he qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics for the first time in the country’s judo history. We hope the government will keep its promise,” said the official.

“There are a few qualifying events during the next few months and we will try our level best to ensure Shah’s entry in most of them,” the official said. “There are Grand Slams in Georgia (March 26 to 28), Antalya (April 1-3) and Kazan (May 5-7). From April 6-9 there is an Asian and Oceania Championship in Kyrgyzstan and the World Championship in Hungary from June 6-13. We have kept our eyes on these events and are planning accordingly,” the official said.

The official said that Shah will also feature in the National Championship which will be held in Peshawar from April 8-12. To a query, he said if the Army wants then Shah’s training in Abbottabad is not an issue. “If Army wants to arrange a training stint for him in Abbottabad then it is possible,” the official said. Shah had told this correspondent after the National Games held in Peshawar in 2019 that Abbottabad was the best place for him to train because of its high altitude.