Shahzaib eyes 2028 Olympics after historic silver medal

The 25-year-old delivered an outstanding performance against Saudi Arabia’s Hamdi Riyad at Asian Taekwondo

Tayyaba Khurram May 23, 2024
REMARKABLE PERFORMANCE: Highly talented Shahzaib Khan is seen with his coach Yousef Karami after the final.


Pakistan’s Shahzaib Khan made history by becoming the first taekwondo athlete in country to win a silver medal in the final of -54 kg category of the Kyorugi event at Asian Taekwondo Championship in Da Nang, Vietnam on Friday.
Shahzaib delivered an outstanding performance against Saudi Arabia’s Hamdi Riyad. Despite a strong start with a 1-0 lead in the first round, Shahzaib narrowly missed gold due to controversial referee decisions in the final round.
The match was a nail-biter. Shahzaib's early lead showcased his technical skills and determination. The second round saw an intense battle, with Riyad winning 9-8 after a pulsating exchange. The third and decisive round was marked by contentious referee calls, resulting in a 7-3 victory for Riyad.
"My goal was to win gold medal, but unfortunately, due to the referee’s decision, I came in second," Shahzaib said. "However, I'm happy to have made history for my country by claiming this medal” 
No one from Pakistan has secured such a position in the past 50 years. 
Coach Yousef Karami also said, “We were confident of gold but it changed to silver due to refereeing mistakes.”
Looking ahead, Shahzaib sets his sights on the 2028 Olympics. However, financial constraints pose a significant challenge. "We don't have enough sponsors, which affects our ability to attend international training camps" the 25-year-old explained. "I need sponsorships to achieve my small and big goals. If I get sponsors, I will be able to participate in more events that will help my rankings and enhance my techniques for the 2028 Olympics."
This financial hurdle is a common issue for many athletes in Pakistan, limiting their international competitiveness.
Shahzaib expressed deep gratitude to those who have supported him throughout his journey. "I would like to thank my coach, Yousef Karami, who has been with me for the last two years. I also want to thank the Pakistan Taekwondo Federation, retired Colonel Waseem, and my sponsor, Omer Saeed from Combaxx Sports."
Shahzaib’s remarkable performance not only highlights his individual talent but also represents a significant milestone for Pakistan in the sport of taekwondo. His achievement is expected to inspire future generations of Pakistani athletes to pursue excellence on the international stage.


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