ISLAMABAD - The 14-year-old four-time national taekwondo champion in -46 and -53 weight categories, Naqsh Hamdani, looked highly confident about winning gold medal for the country in her very first international outing in South Asian Games in India.

Naqsh, who had already left her mark on national horizon with highly impressive performances said she had 95 percent chances of winning the gold medal in her very first international assignment. Naqsh had already won three gold medals in -46 weight category in National Teakwando Championships and also won gold medal in -53 while she won three silver medals in Poomse in National Senior Teakwando Championship held in September last year along with 1 bronze medal in Poomse and 1 gold medal in Karoki. She also had won gold medal in recently concluded 10th Korean Ambassador Taekwondo Championship in Islamabad.

“I started taking keen interest in taekwondo when I was only 9, just because of my father Raheel Hamdani, who was a good taekwondo player. I started training with Masroor Zaman some five years back. I became the national champion in -46kg weight category in my very first competitions and managed to remain unbeaten in -46 for last 4 years. Then according to my height, I moved to -53kg weight category and by the grace of Allah, I also managed to win gold in this category as well. I had entered taekwondo with just one aim and that is to rewrite taekwondo female history and win gold medal at international competitions. It is a difficult target but achievable and I am training very hard under the watchful eyes of head coach Javed Kareem and national senior female champion Najia Rasool Khan for the last two months at Pakistan Sports Complex training camp established for SAG,” Naqash said.

She said she had worked day and night with one purpose in mind and that is to leave a mark on international stage. She had never represented her country abroad and this would be her very first international assignment and very tough too, as she had to play against not only Indian players but also had to face hostile Indian crowd but her confidence is sky high. She said Pakistan Taekwondo Federation President Lt Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Janjua had taken keen interest in their trainings and had paid numerous visits to the camp they were provided highly intense training keeping in mind, how to handle crowd pressure.

“I would be least bothered about crowd and my main focus would be on my opponents. I give entire credit f my successes to my coach sir Masroor, who really worked very hard with me and I am completely satisfied with the training and facilities being provided to us in the camp. It is my request to Pakistan Sports Board to enhance PTF annual grant substantially so they could sent players abroad either to Iran or Korea for at least on-month international training. It is my promise, we would not let down country or PSB and would give 100 percent by winning laurels for the country at any given stage.” Naqash, who was first getting stipend from Railways and has joined Army, said players should be given jobs so they could focus on giving performances rather than thinking about earning bread and butter for their families.

While sharing her views national -62 light weight category for last two years champion 25-year –old Yamna Siddiqui, termed her preparations for SAG as highly satisfactory and gave her full marks as far handling crowd pressure is concerned. “It is my first international event and I would love to raise green and white flag high on Indian soil,” she said.

Yanmna, who joined Army in August last year, also demanded international training for at least one year for players and said that without investing in players the results could not be achieved.

“I had trained with sir Ayaz and sir Waheed in the early part of my career and now I am training with sir Javed. He is highly experienced and we are quite confident about our chances in SAG. The PSB should provide maximum facilities to players and leave the rest on players to carry forward mission of winning laurels abroad.”

Head coach Javed Kareem, who would also accompany the 5-member female and 8-member male team, said he was satisfied with their training and results would be highly favourable. “It doesn’t mean if one had not played in international events before, he or she has less chances to win. If a player performed according to potential, he or she is bound to succeed.”

When asked about realistic chances of winning gold medals, Javed said each and every player is capable of delivering wonders and he is highly confident his players would battle it out for top honours and not to settle less than gold. Pakistan team would depart on 10th for SAG and competitions would start from 12th.