As participation in the Commonwealth Games this year remains doubtful, the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) is planning to focus on the Asian Games in September.
According to PBF official Ali Akber Shah Qadri, the federation has been working with the top national boxers for both events since the beginning of the year.
He said that the federation has already submitted six names for the Commonwealth Games in case the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and the Pakistan Sports Board agreed to send a squad to the event in Glasgow.
“There isn’t enough time now, we have less than a week remaining,” Qadri told The Express Tribune.
“It’s unfair because the POA is sending a contingent that has players who haven’t participated in any tournaments for two years. They are only Wapda players and not from other departments.
“Muhammad Waseem has been one of our best boxers but even he can’t perform if he hasn’t participated in any tournament for the last two years; Wapda have wasted him.”
Qadri said that the PBF itself has shortlisted pugilists who earned gold medals in their respective categories in the national championship last month.
Jahanzaib Khan has been selected from the 49-kg category, Syed Muhammad Asif from 52-kg, Amir Khan from bantam weight, M Sheeraz from light weight , Zulqarnain from middleweight and Abdul Wahab Kakar from the super heavyweight category.
“Whatever the outcome maybe, we are ready. But if the less deserving boxers compete in the Commonwealth Games, it would be embarrassing because they haven’t had enough training.”
Asian Games is the bigger event: official
The official added that the Asian Games in Korea will be a bigger event, which is a qualifying stage for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Our target for now is Asian Games. We are ready either way. We’ll have our national camp in Islamabad after Ramazan, and we are working with a plan to send our athletes to Kazakhstan for training as well.”
Meanwhile, 52-kg Quetta boxer Asif said that he is hopeful despite the uncertainty regarding the Commonwealth Games.
“I believe in hard work. Even though I’m fasting these days, I train during the day and then at night,” said the 21-year-old pugilist.
“I was told that the federation has given my name for the Commonwealth Games, but then there is another contingent that the POA has named. But I’m not worried because if it’s not Commonwealth Games, then there are Asian Games for me.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2014.
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