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April 13, 2021

Saadi, Shah suffering due to coach’s absence

Sports

April 13, 2021

KARACHI: Pakistan’s two top fighters karateka Saadi Abbas and Olympian judoka Shah Hussain have been participating in the Tokyo Olympics qualifying rounds without coaches and it is affecting their performance.

“It’s a huge issue,” the country’s premier karateka Saadi Abbas told ‘The News’ from Dubai. “The coach has a card. When we get a point and the referee/judge denies it to us then the coach raises a card and records a protest and we get that point,” Saadi said.

“In some intense fights referees/judges are reluctant to give points and in that case a coach can ask for review and it helps a player to grab crucial points. I have been deprived of this because I have no coach with me during my Olympic journey,” Saadi said.

“And because of this I have for the first time in my five-year struggle for the Olympics requested the government to give me a coach ahead of my next two qualifying events but so far I have not received any response which is disappointing,” said Saadi, a two-time Commonwealth Championship winner.

Saadi, who lives in Dubai, has mostly spent on his training from his own pocket. However, he is no more in a position to meet the pressing training demands. He needs a Turkish coach urgently if he is to give a qualify for this summer Tokyo Olympics. Meanwhile, Shah Hussain, also eyeing an Olympic ticket, has been participating in qualifiers without a coach.

Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) vice-president Masood Ahmed said it’s a big issue and is affecting players’ performance. “A coach is definitely the backbone. A player needs him on international tours. But you know we cannot afford one. The government has told us that it will only support the athlete during qualifiers,” Masood told ‘The News’.

“In the absence of a coach a player’s mind gets divided because he has to manage different things on his own,” Masood said. “The absence of a coach also disturbs the warm-up of a player before the fight. He has to keep an eye when his fight begins. There are several issues to handle. And playing all alone is definitely a huge task and can affect an athlete’s performance,” Masood said.

“A coach keeps guiding the player all the time during a fight. If there is any belt issue during a fight he gets a chance to advise his player. A player is kept motivated. Shah Hussain is deprived of this,” Masood said.

“A coach also can take review and safeguard his fighter’s points. He fights for his player. Our coach’s seat remains mostly empty while other fighters have coaches and managers with them,” Masood said.

Shah recently featured in back-to-back qualifiers without a coach as he did in his previous qualifying events. Shah had also featured in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games without a coach which affected his performance. He had to be content with a silver medal. ‘The News’ learnt that his crucial time had also been wasted because of media interviews.