Hopes for an Olympics wild-card were given a real bashing for Pakistan’s judokas as none of the four athletes sent to Tashkent managed to make an impact in the Asian Senior Championship.
National champion Fauzia Mumtaz finished seventh in the sub-70kg event, Kamran Butt crashed out after losing to Uzbekistan’s Islam Bozbayev in the sub-81kg category, while Humaira Ashiq also saw a preliminary round-exit after losing to local athlete Kelbet Nurgazina in the sub-52kg competition. Shah Hussain, the federation’s main hope, was ruled out of the competition after an elbow injury prior to the team’s departure.
Mumtaz was the only Pakistani to win a match before being sent crashing by South Korea’s Ye-Sul Hwang in the second round.
The Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) President Shujat Ali Rana, who is also in Tashkent, was content with the female players’ show.
“I am in talks with China and Japan to find a female coach for our athletes,” Rana told The Express Tribune. “Our players have great potential but due to our cultural values, they can’t be trained by a male coach that we hired from Iran. I’m satisfied with their show but yes, they need professional coaching.”
Meanwhile, Hussain was left distraught by his injury that ruled him out of the competition.
“It’s been a life-long dream to participate in the Olympics like my father did [boxer Hussain Shah],” he said. “He won a bronze medal for Pakistan and I wanted to do the same. But I’ve been strictly forbidden by the doctors from training which is why I had to miss out on the championship.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.
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