ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Wrestling Federation (WF) is fielding its top wrestlers in two back-to-back world qualifying rounds with the hope to secure a couple of tickets for this summer’s Olympics in Rio.
“We’ll send a total of five wrestlers in two qualification events. I’m optimistic that at least a couple of our boys will make it to the Rio,” Secretary PWF Arshad Sattar told APP on Wednesday.
In the first world qualifying tournament, which is commencing in Mongolia from Friday, three top fighters in each weight class will qualify for Rio. Following that event, the only remaining qualifier will be held in Istanbul, Turkey from May 6-8, where winner and runner-up in each weight category will make it to the Rio.
“In the first event we are sending only one wrestler – our Commonwealth Games gold medallist Muhammad Inam (86kg). He’ll depart from Lahore on late Thursday.
“While our rest of combatants – Mohammad Bilal (57kg), Qamar Abbas (65kg), Asad Butt (74kg) and Zaman Anwar (125kg) will feature in the Turkey qualifiers,” he said.
“It’ll be a great achievement if Inam finishes among the top three in Mongolia. But in case if he remains unlucky, he’ll be part of our squad for the Turkey event,” Arshad added.
The PWF secretary said that the federation had approached Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for funds to send wrestlers for the two events but the board said it did not have money.
“It is with great difficulty that we are managing funds to chip in these events.” He said wrestling was the only game left, which could help the country secure a berth in Rio Games adding,
“If proper attention is given, Pakistan has great potential to excel in this game.”