Olympic hopeful Shah still looking towards PSB

Olympic hopeful Shah still looking towards PSB

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) slackness and unprofessional attitude towards handling quality athletes’ development and coaching matters is coming hard on the Olympic hopeful Judoka Shah Hussain Shah who is at the brink of qualifying for the mega event following his spirited performance in recently-concluded qualifiers.

The Ministry of IPC has recently approved Rs 1.5 million for the talented judoka who is bound for training-cum-competition Europe tour shortly. However, the final approval of the amount is still pending with the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).

It has been learnt that the release of the amount on which depends Hussain Shah’s Olympic fortunes just required one final signature from the acting DG PSB Amna Imran. “The release of the amount is waiting for one final signature from the DG PSB and has been pending there for the last two weeks now. Hussain Shah has missed some of the main international events for multiple reasons and any more hiccups could come hard on his chances to qualify for Olympics,” a judo federation official when contacted said.

In his pursuit for the place for Tokyo 2020, while playing in Osaka Grand Slam, Olympian Judoka Shah Hussain Shah ascended to 39th position in recently updated Olympic ranking list. This is highest ever ranking for any South Asian judoka has earned. He lost against world number four Aron Wolf from Japan in pre quarterfinal. He secured 160 points in this highest level of contest after World Championship. With this he accumulated 904 points thus is far ahead of his Asian rivals for a place in Olympics.

Col ® Junaid Alam, President Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF), has expressed entire satisfaction over his unprecedented marvelous performance. He added that PJF has borne all his expenditure so far and for them his qualification for the Olympics is upmost priority.

He explained that judo qualifying for Olympic is unlike other sports where a judokas has to appear in almost four Olympic qualifiers, contested by an athlete or a team. In last four months, Shah Hussain was sent by PJF to participate in seven different championships round the globe. Shah had missed Australian Grand Prix Nov 2019 due to visa issue. In start of next year he would suffer another setback as the first Grand Slam is being held in Israel, which he cannot participate due to obvious reason.

Coming hard on the government hotheadedness he said it was unfortunate there was no support from any quarter so far despite so many requests to all concerned. “Even routine monetary grants given to the national federations were stopped due to ongoing sports reforms. However, on request of President PJF as well as Shah’s father (boxing legend Olympic medalist Hussain Shah) one month ago, Federal Minister IPC Fehmida Mirza has reportedly approved 1.5 million for his participation in qualifiers from August to December 2019 but nothing is released so far.” All efforts to contact acting PSB DG Amna Imran went fruitless. Even she did not respond to SMS message sent to her.

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