KARACHI: Eyeing qualification for the next year’s Commonwealth Games to be held in England, Pakistani weightlifters will start departing for Tashkent from December 5 in two phases to feature in the World Championship.
After the global event Commonwealth rankings will also be finalised. The top weightlifters in each weight category will make it to the Commonwealth Games slated to be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8, 2022.
A few months ago the Commonwealth Championship was scheduled to be hosted by Singapore but was cancelled due to Covid issues and it was decided that during the World Championship the Commonwealth rankings would also be made and on its basis the top seed in each weight category would move into the Commonwealth Games.
Medals of Commonwealth Championship will also be awarded during the World Championship on the basis of the Commonwealth rankings.
Pakistan Weightlifting Federation (PWLF) has finalsied five weightlifters for the World Championship. They are Sharjeel Butt (55kg, Army), Abu Bakar (61kg, Army), Talha Talib (67kg, WAPDA), Hanzala Dastageer Butt (109kg, WAPDA) and Nooh Dastageer Butt (109+kg, WAPDA).
They will be accompanied by officials Irfan Butt and Dastageer Butt.
PWLF official Amjad Amin Butt told ‘The News’ that these two officials would jointly handle the squad during the event.
Talha Talib, who shot to fame when he finished fifth in the Tokyo Olympics this year, is expected to press for a medal in the World Championship.
As the world’s top seeds from China are expected to skip the event due to Covid, Talha may snare a medal in the World Championship which will be held from December 7-17.
On December 5, Sharjeel Butt, Abu Bakar, Talha Talib and Irfan Butt will depart from Lahore for Tashkent. On December 13 the remaining lot will proceed.
PWLF vice-president Amjad Amin Butt is hopeful that all of their weightlifters will make it to the Commonwealth Games.
“We have finalised these weightlifters as we expect them to blast their way into the Commonwealth Games. I am pretty confident that the lot will deliver in Tashkent,” Amin told ‘The News’ from Lahore on Wednesday.
Nooh Dastageer Butt is also a fine weightlifter. The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist could have fought for a place in this year’s Tokyo Olympics but fitness issues forced him to stay away from the qualifiers.
The matter of concern for the federation is that Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has not yet released NOC for the trip.
“We wrote to the PSB for NOC and funds one and a half month ago but so far neither have we received funds for the trip nor the NOC. We are hopeful that the Board will release these things soon,” Butt said.
“It’s a vital event as far as Commonwealth Games qualification is concerned and if we face any issue in this then it will be a real disaster,” Butt said.
He said that Lahore High Court (LHC) had disposed of their case and had put the ball in the court of the PSB to decide which federation was handling weightlifting well.
“We are affiliated with the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and have been obeying the PSB rules for years as far as adhering to the tenure-restriction clause is concerned,” the official said.