Saturday January 29, 2022

Ten-man squad named for Commonwealth Wrestling Championship

October 27, 2021

KARACHI: Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PWF) has finalised a ten-member squad for the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship slated to be held in Johannesburg from December 3-5.

The squad was finalised after trials held at Lahore on Sunday. The squad carries some young but promising boys who have been impressive at the national circuit.

The wrestlers picked are Mohammad Bilal (57 kg), Hammad Butt (61 kg), Allah Rakha (65 kg), Inayat Ullah (70kg), Shareef Tahir (74kg), Sajawal (79kg), Nouman (86kg), Mohammad Inam (92kg), Abdul Hameed (97kg) and Zaman Anwar (125kg).

Hammad is the younger brother of Inam Butt, Pakistan’s premier wrestler and two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist. Allah Rakha, another youngster, plays for Railways.

Shareef is an under-19 boy who represents Higher Education Commission (HEC). Sajawal plays for Army and has won a national title. Nouman is also an upcoming boy from Punjab. Abdul Hameed is an under-20 wrestler and has been trained by Mohammad Inam in Gujranwala in his own wrestling arena.

“You know we work on merit. We decided to hold trials in order to ensure deserving boys got the chance to represent Pakistan,” PWF vice-president Arshad Sattar told ‘The News’ on Tuesday.

However, he was quick to add that the experienced wrestlers’ fitness was better than the others. “Bilal’s fitness was on top in the trials. He was followed by Inayatullah, the Youth Olympics bronze medallist, Inam and Zaman,” Arshad said.

“We will now be collecting their passports and will make travelling arrangements in due course,” he said.

Arshad said they had various options for the training camp. “Army have offered support for a one-month camp in Rawalpindi. We have also requested the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to give us a one-month camp in Lahore,” he added.

Arshad said that the National Championship would be held in Lahore from November 26-28. “If we are unable to hold any centralised camp for the ten wrestlers then they will have the opportunity to train with their respective units for the national event. But we will try our best to hold a one-month camp,” he said.

The South Africa event will be a testing affair for the ten-man squad as the performers in that event may get the opportunity to find places in Pakistan’s wrestling squad for the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8.

But Arshad said the PWF would hold trials a month and a half before the Commonwealth Games to finalise the six-member squad for the Birmingham event.

“Despite winning medals in South Africa we will pass wrestlers through trials for the Commonwealth Games as we will have to see their fitness. There will also be some reshuffle in weights of the wrestlers. We will see how they do after some adjustment in their weights,” Arshad said.

Bilal, Inam and Inayatullah are expected to claim gold medals in South Africa. Zaman, an experienced grappler, can also click there.