ISLAMABAD            -        Pakistan karate player Saadi Abbas once again delivered for the country, as he grabbed gold medal in the -75kg weight category of the 13th South Asian Games (SAG), currently underway in Kathmandu, Nepal.

While talking to The Nation from Nepal on Tuesday, Saadi said: “I got bye in the first fight, then I played second fight against a Sri Lankan athlete, whom I thrashed 7-1. I was up against the host nation’s athlete in the -75kg final and simply hammered him 8-0 despite the fact that he was enjoying overwhelming support from the spectators. As I had also won gold medal in the previous SAG, Commonwealth Games, Asian Championship and US Open Karate Championship, I am eager to win more and more international medals for my country.

Nepal is organising the SAG in highly professional manner, as they had prepared their teams and athletes well. Pakistani athletes are facing huge resistance at the hands of Nepal athletes in almost all the events. It is a worrying sign that a nation like Nepal had established long training camps due to the significance of the SAG, but there was hardly six-day training camp for Pakistani athletes. How can one with six-day training compete with an opponent, who had trained for months? Even with such short training, Pakistan karate players have performed well, as we have won three gold medals so far. I am hopeful that we will be able to clinch another gold medal in the coming fights.”

“We need proper training and long camps. I can assure all that Pakistani athletes are by no means weaker than any given top player, but we just lack training and facilities. I hope, after watching our performance, Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza, who was present at the venue, will help the athletes by announcing proper training camps and financial aid. We will give better results and make the country proud,” Saadi added.

Earlier, Pakistan’s Shahida Abbasi won a gold medal, Naimatullah won a silver medal in men’s singles, Pakistani female team, comprising of Nargis, Shahida and Gul, won a silver medal in team matches and men’s team, comprising of MD Arif, MD Saheed and Munawar Hussain, won a bronze medal in team event.

Pakistan also performed exceptionally in the taekwondo events. Shahzaib won a gold medal in -54kg Khyrougi, Muhammad Faheem won a silver medal in -68kg, Syeda Zadi Sidra Batool won a silver medal in -46kg, Naqsh Hamdani won a bronze medal in -57kg, Mehrun Nisa/Shahbaz Ahmed won a silver medal in pair poomsae (29 years and above), male team, comprising Muhammad Mumtaz, M Anas and Ahmed Shahbaz, won a bronze medal in men’s team poomsae (23 years and above), Mehrun Nisa won a bronze medal in female individual poomsae (29 years and above) and M Mumtaz/Asifa Ali won a bronze medal in pair poomsae (23-29 years).

While talking to The Nation, Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) President Lt Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Janjua said, “Allah is always very kind. Our efforts brought fruit for the country. If the camp was established earlier, we could have done much better. Master Han is doing a remarkable job for Pakistani athletes, as he helped our athletes professionally in just few days. We are sure that we will win more medals before the conclusion of the SAG. I once again request the IPC Minister to help the PTF and resolve salary issue of Master Han.