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Pakistan Boxing Federation to hold camp in February

Alam Zeb Safi
Sunday, Dec 04, 2022

KARACHI: Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) has decided to launch its preparations for a handful of international events, especially the 2024 Paris Olympics Qualifiers, in February 2023.

"Yes, we will hold a camp in February," PBF secretary Col (retd) Nasir Tung told 'The News' on Saturday.

"We are going to hold the inter-departmental event late January in Karachi which will also help us to complete our selection process and inshaAllah in February we will be able to begin the camp," the official said.

He said that an eight-month camp will help to prepare solidly for the Asian Games slated to be held in Guangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8, 2023.

Asian Games will also serve as qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Besides this event, national pugilists will have two more chances in the shape of the world qualifiers in 2024.

Nasir also revealed that the PBF has decided to field Zakir Hussain and Talha in the Asian Under-22 Boxing Championship which will be held in Thailand from January 16-27. Both boxers belong to Army. Zakir will compete in bantamweight and Talha in flyweight.

"Both are highly talented and have done a good job in the national event held in Quetta recently," Nasir said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan head coach and former Olympian Arshad Hussain told this correspondent that an eight-month camp ahead of the Asian Games will help Pakistan a lot. "It will create a big opportunity for us to prepare well. The federation also plans to arrange a foreign tour and if it is done then we should qualify for the Olympics," he said.

Arshad said that he plans to draft some youngsters into the elite pool camp in order to ensure a bright future for the country in boxing in years to come. "I plan to put ten boys between the age of 18 and 19 in the camp so that they could play for the country for the next ten years. In the recently-held national event in Quetta we shortlisted some gutsy youngsters. Our plan is to work on them and convert them into quality fighters," Arshad said.

"We also plan to put four or five coaches in the camp so that the boxers could be rightly trained," he said.

The coach has been impressed by the talent fielded by Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Police in the national event.

"Both these departments had some fine fighters and we have also marked them. Besides, PAF, Army, Navy, Balochistan and KP also had some good young talent and we will again check them in the inter-departmental event in Karachi in January," Arshad said.

He said that six girls were also outstanding in the national event. The girls from Hazara impressed him a lot, he said. "They were excellent," said Arshad, also an IBA 3-star coach.

He said that personally as a coach he wants 25 boys and ten girls in the national camp.

He said that selection for elite training camp will be purely on merit and only top quality fighters will be invited in order to prepare a fighting lot for the Asian Games, South Asian Games and Olympic Qualifiers.

About the upset caused in the national event when Jehanzeb Khan defeated Asian Under-22 bronze medallist Zohaib Rasheed in the 46-48kg final, Arshad said it happens in boxing. However, he rates both fighters as strong ones. "Jehanzeb is a senior fighter and played well but Zohaib is also good and he has expressed his ability as a fine player in recent years," he said.

About promising fighter Ilyas Hussain, Arshad said that he played some good fights in the national event. "He did well but he still has weak areas and we will work on them," Arshad signed off.