KARACHI: Pakistani wrestlers are training diligently as they eye a 2016 Rio Olympic berth via the upcoming qualification round that will begin from May 7 in Turkey.
Pakistan last took part in the Olympics wrestling event in 2000 but no national wrestler has since made it to the Games.
According to the Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PWF) secretary Chaudhry Arshad Sattar, Pakistan will be sending five athletes to the upcoming qualifiers.
Pakistani wrestler wins gold at South Asian Games
“It is the most important event for us, and we are ready for it,” Sattar told The Express Tribune. “Our wrestlers are working hard and we expect them to book at least two places in the main Olympic round.”
The squad includes Pakistan’s top wrestlers, including the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Muhammad Inam for the 86kg category, South Asian Games gold medallist Zaman Anwar for the 120kg event, Asad Butt for the 75kg competition, Qamar Abbas in 65kg weight class and Muhammad Bilal in the 57kg contest.
“Our wrestlers have proved themselves at the South Asian Games,” added Sattar. “Inam and Zaman will be our strongest weapons in Turkey. We are definitely hoping for these two to at least reach the finals.”
All five wrestlers have been training in Lahore under head coach Suhail Tariq.
Pakistani wrestlers fight neglect to carry tradition on
Sattar further said while the wrestling federation is doing the best it can, the team needs support from the government.
“We haven’t received any financial support from the government,” he complained. “In fact, our federation has been organising all the camps independently.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2016.
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