Friday September 24, 2021

Weightlifters assemble in Lahore for camp today

August 03, 2021

KARACHI: National weightlifters will begin assembling in Lahore on Tuesday (today) to kick-start their preparation for the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship which is slated to be hosted by Singapore from October 20 to 24.

A senior official of the Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWLF) told ‘The News’ on Monday that the camp will be conducted in phases and will be built up slowly. “In the first phase, eight to ten weightlifters will be assembled. They will be joined by some others, including star weightlifters, after some time. We also plan to put some juniors in the camp,” the PWLF vice-president Amjad Amin Butt told ‘The News’ in a detailed chat on Monday from Lahore.

The Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship will also serve as qualifiers for the 2022 Commonwealth Games which will be held in Birmingham. The gold medallists of each weight category of the Singapore’s event will make it to the Birmingham event.

“As it is a qualifier for the Commonwealth Games we plan to send a minimum ten weightlifters to Singapore,” Butt said. He said that they had planned a long-term camp. “Whatever the situation, the PWLF will make its best effort to keep the preparations intact,” he said.

The next year is also loaded with international events and then in early 2023 Pakistan will be hosting the South Asian Games and any break of camp in the middle will not be in the interest of the weightlifters.

Butt said that star weightlifter Talha Talib would be given a few days’ rest. “Yes, Talha will be given some rest as he recently competed in the Olympics. We want him to take his time before joining the camp,” he said.

Talha produced his best performance in the Tokyo Games when he pulled off his best total of 320 kg and finished overall fifth in the 67kg slots. He missed bronze by a whisker. He featured in the Tokyo Games on the basis of an IOC Invitation Place.

There was a two kilogramme gap between Talha and the bronze medallist of the finals. Butt hoped that Talha would be their sure gold medallist of the Singapore event. “If he remains fit he will also win gold for Pakistan in the Commonwealth Games next year,” said Butt, also a former PWLF secretary.

Talha had bronze in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Butt said that another star weightlifter Nooh Dastgir Butt was also fit. “He is fit and we hope he will also do well in the coming event. He is also a fine player,” Butt said.

Responding to a query, Butt said that it has been confirmed that they will be sending a vaccinated contingent to Singapore. “I think quarantine will be there but we have no details about that as yet,” he said.

Butt said that the PWLF also plans to hire a foreign coach. “Yes, it is in our plans. We have not hired any foreign coach for a long time. We have some important events ahead and we will discuss this with the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and hopefully the Board will help us,” he said.