Tuesday October 19, 2021

Pak karatekas facing hurdles in travelling abroad

September 03, 2021

KARACHI: Sending athletes abroad for international events has become very difficult due to covid issues. The exercise is not only financially rigorous but also a headache for the federations which are least supported by the government.

Dubai is going to host the World Karate Championship from November 16-21. Pakistan Karate Federation (PKF) is considering sending its top fighters to the UAE for the event. But as per rules of the event an official accommodation will be reserved which is a prerequisite before applying for the UAE visa. The per night expense of the accomodation is around 150 Euros. It will carry only breakfast while the lunch and dinner will be managed by the squad itself.

“Yes, it’s a big issue,” PKF chairman Mohammad Jahangir told ‘The News’ on Thursday. “We want to send a few boys to Dubai but it’s a costly affair,” he said.

“You will not get a visa if you don’t reserve the official accomodation. We are seeking some relaxation. Most of the South Asian nations will not be able to bear these expenses as air-fare is also very high these days. Even Sri Lanka’s karate federation has told me that their government cannot back them and they need some relaxation in the rules for the World Championship regarding accommodation,” Jehangir said.

“If we are able to get some relief and are allowed to utilise unofficial accommodation then it will help us and we will also send our fighters a few days before the event to undergo training there,” he added.

“After the World Championship we also have to take part in the Asian Championship to be held in Kazakhstan in December. There we will have to send an extended squad. Our participation in the World Championship and Asian Championship depends on the resources. We lack sponsorship,” the official said.

In order to pick fighters for the camp for these twin events the PKF has planned to hold the National Karate Championship in Quetta from October 7-10. But again the issue is how leading departments will hold camps when there are restrictions on sports activities imposed by the Punjab government due to coronavirus. “This is a big issue again,” Jehangir said. “It’s upto departments how they tackle this situation. They can hold camps in Quetta where events like this are being held. The national event is very important for us as no event has been held during the last two years and we are also to send squads to the World Championship and Asian Championship,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s premier fighter Saadi Abbas will come to Pakistan from Dubai for the National Championship. “Yes, I will come to Pakistan in the middle of this month as I have to feature in the national event. Previously, there were traveling issues and now the things have been eased out,” Saadi told ‘The News’ from Dubai.

“Yes, I will play in the World Championship to be held in Dubai. Since last month I had been nursing an injury. Yesterday the Premier League began in Egypt. I missed it because I no longer can afford expenses from my own pocket. Before the World Championship there are two more events in Morocco and Russia and I will only take part in these events if I am backed by the government or get a sponsor,” said Saadi, a former Asian champion.

“It’s important to get an event before the World Championship. Featuring in such events helps you to get some solid preparation for the big event,” said Saadi, two-time Commonwealth Championship gold medallist.