Saadi Abbas and Shah Hussain have won several international laurels for Pakistan but the authorities have unfortunately snubbed them yet again
Like personalities in the other areas of life, sports persons are also honoured with civil awards every year. However, surprisingly the country’s premier karateka and former Asian champion and two-time Commonwealth Championship gold medallist Saadi Abbas and two-time Olympian judoka Shah Hussain are still waiting for their turn to get the prestigious Pride of Performance award. Several times their federations have sent their nominations but each time they were ignored which is extremely unjust with the duo who have selflessly worked hard and hoisted Pakistan’s flag in the international circuit for years.
We have seen during the last several years that some ordinary and young athletes have been awarded civil awards but these two who have massive contributions in their respective fields have been kept deprived so far.
First I will discuss Saadi Abbas. These days he is in Canada. He is preparing for the 19th Asian Games slated to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8.
Saadi is truly the best athlete produced by the country during the last one and a half decades.
He is an Asian gold medallist, US Open gold medallist, two-time Commonwealth Championship gold medallist besides having claimed two bronze also in the Asian Championship, two golds and one silver in the South Asian Games, silver in the 2017 Baku Islamic Games, two golds in the South Asian Karate Championship, gold in the recently held Montreal Open and five golds in various events in the UAE as he also played there for a club for a long time.
The authorities should note that Saadi is truly the biggest athlete in the current crop of Pakistan’s sportsmen. He is focussing on the preparations for the Asian Games to begin next month in Hangzhou and aims to finish his illustrious career on.a high note with a medal in the quadrennial event.
Despite such an outstanding performance he has not only been mistreated by the government as far as the rewards for his achievements are concerned but he has also been several times neglected for the civil award.
I urge the government to credit this productive athlete next time with a civil award for his meritorious services.
A player of Saadi’s calibre is rarely produced in Pakistan’s sports culture. He needs great respect and I hope next time a Pride of Performance will be conferred on him to acknowledge his achievements for Pakistan.
When I contacted a senior official of Pakistan Karate Federation (PKF) he said that several times they submitted his nomination for the purpose but each time he was not nominated for the award.
Meanwhile, another glorious player and two-time Olympian judoka Shah Hussain Shah also deserves Pride of Performance. Like Saadi he is also in the final stages of his wonderful career. He is the only Pakistani judoka who represented the country twice in the Olympics. Each time he qualified on the basis of continental quota after passing through a two years long qualifying journey. He featured in the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
He has to his credit two bronze medals in the Asian Championship besides having claimed silver in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. He also claimed golds in the last two South Asian Games held in 2016 in India and 2019 in Nepal.
Born in England, Shah Hussain was brought up in Tokyo. He is the son of former Olympics bronze medallist boxer Hussain Shah who trains boxers in Japan’s capital. Shah Hussain was groomed mostly in Tokyo which has a quality judo environment. These days he is out of international action due to injury. He is expected to return to the international fold in the South Asian Games which Pakistan is supposed to host early next year.
I will also urge the state to respect this wonderful athlete as he showed a lot of loyalty to the country during the last few years. Let’s honour those who deserve. We should not honour those who don’t deserve. The issue in Pakistan is that we confer a civil award on an athlete for only a single medal in the South Asian Games but we don’t see big names around who have won loads of medals for the country. It would be of high value if next time the authorities concerned nominate the most deserving athletes for the civil awards and these two must be there.