Thursday Sep 12, 2019
KARACHI: The Pakistan Judo Federation has sent an emergency letter to the Pakistan Sports Board seeking a special grant for the country's top Judoka Hussain Shah to ensure his participation in tournaments to qualify for next year's Olympics.
In a letter addressed to the DG Pakistan Sports Board, President of Pakistan Judo Federation Colonel Junaid Alam has highlighted how the unavailability of funds has damaged Pakistan's campaign to qualify for the sports greatest extravaganza.
“For Tokyo 2020, two years Judo Olympic qualifying period is in progress since 25 May 2018 to 25 May 2020. Various international judo events contribute towards accumulation of ranking points and top ones will be selected in May 2020,” PJF president highlights in his letter to DG PSB.
“Due to ongoing sports reforms by the Government, Funds for even routine international participation could not be released by PSB. Resultantly, unlike other international athletes of his caliber, Shah Hussain Shah could just participate in three ranking events in 16 months. Whereas other average judokas participated in more than 10-12 events so far, even gaining points of participation,” he rued about how lack of funds disturbed Pakistan’s smooth sail.
According to Pakistan Judo Federation’s letter, Shah’s rival Indian Judoka Avtar Singh being just three positions up in Olympic ranking has currently been awarded Continental Quota merely due to difference of participation points.
“It is highlighted with concern that Shah has always performed much better than Avtar Singh, by earning twice Asian Bronze and thrice 5th place in annual Asian Senior Championship/Asian Games , Silver in Commonwealth games and is South Asian champion since 2014, whereas Singh's best performance is only 1 bronze, that too in an Asian open championship,” PJF federation mentions while highlighting the damages due to unavailability of funds.
Of Shah's two international appearances in 2019, Shah narrowly lost bronze medal fight in Asia-Pacific Senior Championship in May 2019.
Following his performance in the World Judo Championship-2019 on 30 August, Shah experienced a huge boost in his World and Olympic ranking. He improved 26 places in his World ranking as he jumped to the 73rd spot from 99. Similarly, he also experienced a 43 places boost in his 2020 Olympics ranking as he moved to the 57th spot from previously held 100.
PJF is now aiming to send Shah Hussain Shah in at least seven tournaments in next few weeks. These tournaments include Tashkent Grand Prix from 19th to 54th September, Brasilia Grand Slam from 4th to 9th October, Grand Slam UAE from 23rd to 28th October, Oceania Open in Australia from 2nd November to 6th November, Japan Grand Slam from 21st to 25th November, Asian Open in Hong Kong from 29th November to 2nd December and Qingdao Open in China from 11th to 15th December.
The PJF has also submitted the details of expenses for Shah’s participation in these tournaments.
“It is therefore requested to allocate special grant for the training and participation of Shah Hussain Shah especially in the attached program from 20th September to 30th December 2019. Approximately a sum of Rs 3.4 million (with coach) or else Rs 2 million (without Japanese coach, details attached) will be required for participation till Dec 2019,” the letter states.
Colonel Junaid Alam expresses that PJF is confident that if Shah Hussain Shah is supported in these international events, he will definitely improve his Olympic ranking to qualify.
He has also assured the PSB that no official from PJF will accompany the athlete, other than his Japanese coach, or else he alone will participate anticipating paucity of finances.
Last week, Shah Hussain Shahs’ father Hussain Shah – the last individual Olympic medalist from Pakistan made an emotional appeal to PM Imran Khan seeking support from government to ensure his son’s qualification to the Olympic Qualifier.
“This situation is not only embarrassing for all sports hierarchies in chain but also painful for any patriotic Pakistani,” says the PJF letter to PSB.