aOn the one hand, the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) is facing financial problems, and on the other hand it is faced with the task of meeting the financial requirements of all those athletes who will prepare for the Olympic qualifying rounds in Paris 2024.
Given such a complex situation, the higher authorities in the council need to make a rigorous decision in order to skillfully meet the requirements of those athletes who deserve to participate in the preliminaries.
The council is planning to organize camps of several disciplines in which Pakistan can qualify for Paris Games 2024. The council will have to retain 20-30 athletes and some officials in each discipline in which the nation has a chance to reach the Paris Games 2024. But I think it will cost the council a lot and it will not be The state is able to support the camps for a long time. There is a reasonable way to address this problem. It is time for the senior officials of the board to get their heads together and decide whether to give these potential athletes foreign training with the potential to make cuts in the 2024 Paris Olympics. There is no need to train them at home which I think will not help them much.
In wrestling, we have four standouts: Mohamed Inaam, Youth Olympic bronze medalist Inayatullah, rookie prospect Mohamed Sharif Taher and professional Mohamed Bilal who missed the Commonwealth Games after losing the trials but is definitely the best in the 57kg class. These four wrestlers must be sent to Iran, Ukraine or any Central Asian country before the World Championships which will be held in 2023. In January and February there will be arranged wrestling events and in March the Asian Championship will be held.
This event will be mandatory for all wrestlers who wish to participate in the Olympic Qualifiers. This means that those who will participate in the continental event will be able to participate in the Olympic qualifiers. I think that instead of spending a huge amount on a camp of 25-30 wrestlers at home, it would be a wise decision of PSB if they went to spend the money on those 4 wrestlers and send them abroad to train a few months. I am confident that if this is done, Pakistan can pull off the 2024 Paris Olympics in Wrestling. Unless our best fighters train against the best group in the world they will not improve.
In powerlifting we have Commonwealth Games gold medalist Noah Dastgir but who can qualify for the 2024 Paris Games. He’s the only flawless powerlifter among the leading group as around half a dozen powerlifters, including Talha Taleb, face investigation from the testing agency. International (ITA).
Noah’s brother Hanzala Dastgir Butt failed to show his strength at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and is not counted among those with the potential to qualify for the Olympics.
Javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem is an automatic selection and is definitely in the board’s plans as he is the only athlete likely to medal at the Paris Games 2024 for Pakistan. Arshad with his recent record breaking achievements at the Commonwealth and Islamic Games has now placed himself in the category of all the great javelin throw teachers around the world who can do anything on a given day at any tournament.
In judo, PSB should focus on Olympians Shah Hussain and Qaiser Afridi. I don’t think Caesar will be able to make cuts this time but Shah can do anything, having experience playing 2016 in Rio and 2020 in Tokyo.
We also have a few taekwondo fighters who can get close to Olympic level.
In boxing, we do not yet know who will pose a real threat to the strongest opponents. We have little in this sport but it depends on how they are trained and ready to take on the biggest challenge. In boxing, there will be a three-pronged qualification track in the form of the continental qualification and two qualification sessions at the global level. The continental qualifying round will be the 19th Asian Games scheduled to be hosted by China in Hangzhou from September 23 to October 8, 2023. The global qualifying rounds will be held in 2024.
Yes, we have a strong chance of qualifying directly for the Olympics in archery which is generally a very potential discipline in which we can create ripples if our archers are trained hard. The state should greatly support this discipline.
In the rest of the sports like badminton, table tennis and swimming, I don’t think anything can be achieved.
Yes, we have great hope for chivalry. In the event, Melbourne-based Pakistan rider Usman Khan is on his way to qualifying for the Paris Games. He’s playing in FEI 3-star events these days and recently earned his MER in France. It needs two more MERs at this level to advance to the 4-star category. Three successful evaluations at that point would put him into the Olympics. For Osman, winning an Olympic seat is not such a daunting task as he has already done. The death of his two horses and serious injuries prevented him from participating in the Tokyo Olympics. The country should support this man because he rendered commendable services to the country despite his residence in Australia.
I hope the board will focus on quality, not numbers. By doing this, with little financial input, major things can be achieved.