ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) has pinned hopes on highly talented Haroon Khan, who had created waves in taekwondo circles with stunning performances both at junior and senior level and won gold medals in two national championships.

The 18-year-old from Quetta opted for taekwondo at school level and joined Pakistan taekwondo camp in 2013 upon the recommendations of Tanirey Nau School administration, where he was studying. He trained at Railway Academy Quetta before joining national junior camp in 2013 and won gold in his first appearance in National Junior Taekwondo Championship in 2014 in fly weight category.Judging his enormous talent and potential, Federation’s president Lt Col (retd) Waseem Ahmed Janjua took keen interest in Haroon and allocate senior coach Shahzad and Javed to work with him. Haroon responded in style as he participated in National Senior Taekwondo Championship in September this year and won gold medal in senior fly weight category.

Belonging to a middle class family, Haroon is grateful to his father, a retired government servant, for his all out support saying “he never backed off from supporting him and helping him to realize his dream to become first Pakistani to win at international level in taekwondo.”

Haroon, who is a third year student of Government College, Quetta and has joined the national training camp after he was granted leave after his examinations, has six other siblings and despite that his retired father is continuously supporting him and bearing all his expenses. The teen prodigy, however, felt hurt as no one was lending him helping hand to realize his ambitions. “PTF president is doing a remarkable job as despite facing tight financial constrains, he had arranged camps for the players, where around 35 male and female players are getting training for the past two months. I must appreciate Pakistan Sports Board Director General Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, DDG Facilities Agha Amjedullah and Assistant Director Hostels Malik Imtiaz Hussain, who are like fatherly figure for all the athletes for their support. Despite renovation/maintenance work is under process at Allam Iqbal Hostel and the PSB is facing huge shortage of accommodation, they had not turned their backs of athletes and arranged excellent facilities, accommodation and meal for all the camps.”

Haroon said that this was not enough to make the champions though as they needed international standard training and requested the PSB to allocate special grant for PTF so they can arrange players training abroad for the SAF Games, which are just two months away.

Haroon said they needed at least one-month training at either Korea, Iran or Thailand as it would definitely boost their medal chances and his goal to represent Pakistan in Olympics could be realized. He said he would appear in Olympic qualifying round next year to earn right for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil. “I had pinned great hopes and quite sure about my abilities of booking berth in Olympics by winning qualifying round matches but it could not be possible without training abroad. The PSB should allocate special funds, so we could stand realistic chance of doing well in high-profile events.”

He said Pakistan had never won a medal in World Taekwondo Championship, Olympics or even at Asian Games. Even in SAF Games we did not win gold yet, he lamented and vowed to end the drought for Pakistan in this game at the international level.

While sharing his views Pakistan Taekwondo team skipper Syed Adeel Shah said Pakistan team has great potential of winning medals in SAF Games. “We could win five medals out of eight categories in male and three medals in females out of 5 categories. We have quite few individuals, who are not any lesser than top international players but we badly need international training. It is my request to PSB, IPC to arrange at least 1-month training abroad, I can assure, we would not disappoint and would finish on podium,” Adeel concluded.