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April 27, 2021

Saadi to fly to Lisbon tomorrow for Karate-1 Premier League

April 27, 2021

KARACHI: Pakistan’s premier karateka Saadi Abbas will fly out of Dubai for Lisbon, Portugal, on Wednesday (tomorrow) to feature in the Karate-1 Premier League slated to be held from April 30 to May 2 at the Altice Arena Sports Hall.

The event is included in the Olympic qualification process and it is one of the last opportunities for karate athletes to make it to the Olympics by standings.

Saadi currently holds 24th spot in the Olympics rankings and Lisbon’s event will help him to get some more experience ahead of the World Qualifying round which is pencilled in for June 11-13 in Paris from where three fighters from each weight category will make it to the Olympics.

Saadi, who plays in minus 75kg category, has little chance on overall Olympics standings but has the opportunity to earn an Olympic berth through the Paris World qualifiers where he can finish at the victory podium.

Saadi is optimistic, saying he will spring a surprise in Lisbon. “Training is good. I will be featuring in a major event after almost one year. My morale is high and InshaAllah will surprise everyone,” Saadi told ‘The News’ from Dubai on Monday.

“I plan to be more aggressive this time and will take every fight like a final,” said Saadi, a former Asian champion.

Saadi trains in the evening and at night in Dubai.

“After Lisbon’s event I will have one month before the World Qualifiers in Paris and there I will put in my best to make it to the Olympics,” he said.

Saadi was not happy with the way he was being treated by the government. “I am still waiting for the government’s response to my request for financial assistance. The issue is that I am utilising IOC scholarship and these days expenses are very high due to Covid-19.

I needed money for hiring a Turkish coach and managing a two-week foreign training tour ahead of the Paris world qualifying round but so far the government is silent,” he said.

Saadi, a Lyari-born fighter and former US Open champion, is settled in Dubai. He often trains with the UAE national team and also trains young fighters to earn some money. Despite having got loads of medals during his illustrious career he has rarely been backed by the Pakistan government.