KARACHI: Pakistan will field its taekwondo squad in the Asian qualifying round for the Olympics which will be held in May in Jordan.
A group of talented fighters will represent the country in qualifying. But the country’s top seed Haroon Khan is seen as a dangerous player and able to surprise the country in a difficult match. He is in the best shape and form and determined to earn a berth for the Tokyo Olympics this year.
“I have been training hard and have a lot of confidence to win an Olympic seat,” Haroon told Rawalpindi’s ‘The News’ on Sunday.
Haroon, a gold medalist at the 2019 Asian Games, demonstrated his potential as a global fighter by performing superbly at the World Championships in Manchester in 2019. He defeated 2016 European Championship gold medalist Mourad Laachraoui of Belgium and leading Lebanese fighter Ralph Honeine.
“I know the strength of the leading fighters who have come to Jordan. I have played with them. I know how to handle it, ”said Haroon.
It was not known a year ago how the Quetta-born fighter returned to national duty with a serious knee injury. He underwent surgery in Karachi. And after seven months of rest he was back on the circuit. He now felt there was no problem. “I’m perfect now. No problem, ”said Haroon.
Due to the Covid-19 issue, Haroon is unlikely to go abroad to train but he is still happy with the way he trains in Rawalpindi.
“Yes, that’s a problem but here the training is good. I have Korean coaches and some local coaches working with me and I am satisfied. There are some good fighters that I train well. Every fighter in the world faces such foreign training problems, ”said Haroon.
The top two boxers in each weight category will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in the Jordan qualifying round.
Haroon played in the -58kg class.
Shahzaib, Jibran, Taimur Saeed, Aneela and Zoya Sabir are working hard to find a place in the four-member Pakistan squad that the Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) wants to send to Jordan.
PTF has organized training opportunities for UK based Aneela in the UK.
A total of 33 fighters, both male and female, have been detained at the camp at the Army Sports Complex in Rawalpindi. The army provided board and lodging for the fighters and officials. PTF covers the remaining costs of the training camp from its own resources.
PTF has established camps for several years. “Yes, we have held the camp for two years,” PTF president Col Waseem told ‘The News’.
“There are many international events including the Olympic qualifying rounds in Jordan, the Islamic Games, the Pakistan Open Taekwondo Championship (G-1) and the World Youth Championship,” said Waseem. “And in the next few years and early 2023 Pakistan will host the South Asian Games. We strive to keep our fighters in top condition for all of these events, ”said Waseem.
PTF has kept its athletes active around the clock despite a lack of state funding. “The time is now we have to stand on our own feet. This is important, “said Waseem.