KARACHI: Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) plans to send Olympian judoka Shah Hussain to either Europe or Central Asia for one-month training if he is able to confirm his qualification for Tokyo Olympics.
“We have thought that we should send Shah for one month to either Europe or Central Asia once he secures his Olympics berth,” Masood Ahmed, a senior PJF official, told ‘The News’ on Saturday.
“We will see various aspects as Covid-19 situation has restricted the options. It may be Europe or Central Asia. If we opt for the latter then Uzbekistan may be an option. We want to send him because in Japan there are training restrictions due to Covid which are impeding Shah’s growth,” said Masood, the PJF vice-president.
“If we are able to send Shah to Uzbekistan then it will be of great advantage as he may get some training from IJF coach Ilyas who has enormous experience in coaching at the highest level,” Masood said.
Shah is on the verge of ensuring his Olympics seat on the basis of a continental quota. He recently improved two places in his minus 100kg weight category Olympics rankings by moving to 48th spot from 50th which he had before going into the Antalya Grand Slam and Asian and Oceania Championship held in Kyrgyzstan early this month.
Shah’s closest rival is Remarenco Ivan, a Georgian, who has improved six places and now stands 53rd.
Masood also disclosed that Shah has received an invitation letter from Germany and wants to go there for training ahead of the World Championship which will be held in Hungary from June 6-13.
Shah applied for Russia’s visa a couple of days ago as he eyes a Grand Slam slated to be held in Kazan from May 5-7.
However, sources said that Shah may face issues in getting Russian visa.
Sources said that Shah has been told by the Russian embassy in Japan that it will take almost a month as due to Covid the embassy is short of staff.
When this correspondent asked Masood he said that he did not believe that any such issue would be there. He added that if there was any problem the PJF would write to both the Russian embassy and Grand Slam organisers to ensure Shah’s visa for the event.
“Kazan event is very important and Shah must go there. We have already written to the government about this. We will be making every effort to ensure his presence in the Grand Slam,” he said.
Masood said that the World Championship would be more important as it would be enough for retaining his continental quota if Shah managed to win one or two bouts there,” he said.