HEFEI (CHINA)-Pakistan’s top karateka Shahida Abbasi has vowed to take full advantage from China’s visit and keen to come here again for training purposes.

Talking to The Nation, Shahida, who had won international medals for the country in Sri Lanka and India, said: “I am amazed to see how heavily China has been investing on sports and athletes. The way they have established sports universities in across China in all the major cities is the main reason behind their success in sports at international level.”

She said the Chinese head of mission with Group-2 was highly supportive and gave them too much love and respect. “If they were not here, we would have faced a lot of difficulties. I feel honoured and humbled to be the part of Pakistan youth delegation, which included around top 50 athletes, who had won laurels for Pakistan. I am grateful to Chinese government, my department Wapda, my coach Shah Muhammad Shan, Balochistan Sports Board Directors Sir Manzoor and Sir Ghafoor and my teacher Sensei Ghulam Ali, who had transformed me into champion stuff.”

Shahida said it is her humble request to IPC Minister Riaz Pirzada, PSB DG Akhtar Ganjera and Balochistan Sports Minister to ensure such delegations must continue to tour different top sports-playing countries. “It is my first tour, where I have learnt a lot and if such tours are arranged on regular basis for Pakistani junior and senior athletes, I can assure Pakistani athletes will learn a lot and perform comparatively better at international level.”

“Although I have won bronze medal in India during the 3rd South Asian Karate Championship last year and also won three bronze medals in Sri Lanka this year, yet I could have won gold medals, had I had international exposure. We have the best coaches and training, even then we lack facilities, infrastructure and international training and exposure. The only viable solution to enhance Pakistani players’ performance is to send them abroad to get international-standard training under the best coaches,” she said.

Shahida said she is only 22 and fights in -45kg weight and individual Kata. “I started karate training in 2005. It is my childhood dream to represent Pakistan in Karate World Championships and beat world champion to become crowned champion. I am presently employed with Wapda and played twice in World Open Premier League in Dubai. Unfortunately, I couldn’t win any medal, but I learned a lot. I also participated in Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku and this year, I earned Pakistan Colour for the very first time.  “We need sponsors and government support to fulfill our dreams and justify our talent. I also expect Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri to announce special grant for provincial top athletes, as until we are given international exposure, we are not going to justify our vast talent. Anything invested on us is bound to help the country in the years to come,” Shahida concluded.