ISLAMABAD - AF Powertek Engineering FZC Managing Director Umar Saeed has announced to support Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) in conducting the first-ever International Taekwondo Championship in Pakistan next year.

Talking to The Nation, Umar, along withPTF President Lt Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Janjua, said: “I am looking forward to help the federation in the best possible fashion. I have witnessed the opening ceremony of the 13th Korean Ambassador National Taekwondo Championship, which further motivated me to sponsor the international taekwondo event in Pakistan.”

He said his two sons are actively playing taekwondo. “My elder son has won silver medal in the national championship while the younger son Taimoor is also featuring in this event. I had been a hockey player during my school and college days and I never forced my kids to play taekwondo as they themselves showed their passion to play this game.” “I am ready to help not only my sons, but also other players to fulfill their dreams of winning international events. I will not only sponsor my sons, but also other brilliant kids, whom the federation will recommend me,” he added.

He said he had promised Col Wasim to conduct a national junior or senior championship at any place in the country. “I will fully sponsor that event, but I am more interested in sponsoring an international event in Pakistan next year, as it will help in portraying positive image of the country across the globe.

“Our athletes will learn a lot while playing against foreign players and if they manage to win a medal in that particular championship, it will surely boost their confidence to do well in the events aboard. I am really impressed the way young kids of U-8 and above are taking part in the event and they have hunger to excel,” he added.

He said he is watching almost all the competitions. “It is never easy to have around 500 fights daily, but the federation and especially Col Wasim are doing tremendous job. The way international representatives, ambassadors and dignitaries are gracing this event on regular basis, it is really commendable.”

“In the past, hockey was played in schools, district, tehsil and divisional levels, but it has vanished now and only a few youngsters pay heed towards this game. I don’t want to see taekwondo face the same situation, that’s why I am ready to extend my all-out support to the federation. My doors are always open for brilliant athletes and I am ready to support sports and want to see them flourishing in Pakistan,” Umar concluded.

Sharing his views, PTF President Lt Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Janjua said: “I have requested Umar and other sponsors that it is my dream of holding international event in Pakistan and he very kindly accepted my request. The international event will mean lot for the country and taekwondo. I have worked on grassroots level, toured to different countries and managed to attract 100s of youth towards this game.

“If government lends a helping hand to the federation, I can guarantee that Pakistan’s chances of doing well against top nations are highly bright. It will take us around one year to prepare for the mega event, as in November next year, we will be ready for the task.”

“The South Asian Games (SAG) are round the corner. Nepal has set sights on winning 20 plus gold medals in taekwondo. We have some of the best available talents, but they need training. My duty was to find and groom talent and now it is government responsibility to provide us financial support and training camps, so that Pakistani players must be prepared for the mega event,” Wasim concluded.