Sunday December 05, 2021

Weightlifters shift focus to Tashkent World Championship

September 22, 2021
Weightlifters shift focus to Tashkent World Championship

KARACHI: Following the cancellation of the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship which Singapore was supposed to host in late October, national weightlifters have now shifted their focus to featuring in the IWF World Championship to be held in Tashkent from December 7-17 this year.

This is the first time that Uzbekistan will be hosting the global event. The World Championship is important for Pakistan in the sense as here rankings of the Commonwealth region will also be finalised on the basis of which weightlifters from this region will qualify for the next year’s Commonwealth Games slated to be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8.

As per rules, top weightlifters in each weight category will directly qualify for the Commonwealth Games. In the previous Commonwealth Games, held in Gold Coast, Australia, in 2018, five Pakistani weightlifters flexed their muscles and Talha Talib and Nooh Dastgir Butt secured bronze medals.

Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWLF) hopes that at least six weightlifters will be able to qualify for the Commonwealth Games. “I hope six boys will make it to the Commonwealth Games. We will send those boys to the global event who have the capability to make it to the Commonwealth Games,” the PWLF vice-president Amjad Amin Butt told ‘The News’ from Lahore on Tuesday.

“After the cancellation of the Singapore’s Commonwealth Championship we did not disband the camp; around 15 weightlifters are undergoing training here at Lahore for the World Championship,” Butt said.

“We have sent the entries of the best lot for the World Championship as September 7 was the last date of submitting the preliminary entries,” said Butt, without disclosing the number of entries sent for the purpose.

The IWF has asked all federations to finalise entries by November 5. The PWLF plans to hold the National Championship at Lahore in the last week of October which will help it finalise the squad for the World Championship.

The weightlifters whose entries have already been sent for the World Championship will be eligible to feature in the Tashkent global event. Butt said actual dates and venue for the National Championship would be announced later. He said that the World Championship was tougher than the Olympics. “The global event will be tough as here even those leading weightlifters will compete who failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. And the other thing is that here two weightlifters from a nation in a weight category can feature,” Butt explained.

He said it would be a testing event for Pakistan’s leading weightlifter Talha Talib. “Yes, in the World Championship Talha may face a tough time. His snatch is good but his rivals are better in clean and jerk and Talha will need to improve his clean and jerk to impress there. But I am confident he will click in Tashkent,” said Butt.

Talha shot to fame when he finished fifth in the Tokyo Olympics recently. About Nooh Dastgir Butt, he said that the federation would test his fitness before considering him for the World Championship. “Yes, he is a fine player but he had fitness issues and we will test his fitness before deciding his fate for the global event,” Butt said.

He said that they had already provided all the details of their plans to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB). “Yes, we have informed the Board as we have to get an NOC. I also hope that the Board will also extend its financial assistance to back our trip,” the official said.

Butt said the cancellation of the Singapore event would unsettle the players’ preparations. “Yes, these things do affect players’ training. Now they will have to revise their preparatory plans and begin from the start,” he said.

The World Championship will be contested in ten weight categories and the Commonwealth Games in eight weights as 89kg and 102kg have been omitted.