KARACHI: The Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) is sending players to South Korea for training ahead of the First Asian Martial Arts Games slated to be held in Bangkok from April 25 to May 5.
“We plan to send our players to Seoul for a two-week training in order to prepare them well ahead of the tough competition in Thailand. We intend to leave for South Korea on April 17 and from there the squad will move to Thailand on April 23 to participate in the Games,” the secretary of the PTF Major Wasim Ahmad told ‘The News’ in an interview on Wednesday.
He said he had already negotiated his plan with the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) President and has been granted permission to train his team in South Korea for the Asian Martial Arts Games. He further said the trip would help boost the morale of the Pakistani players and will dispel the sort of fear from their hearts which they usually harbour about their Korean opponents.
“Asia is ruling over the world in taekwondo and the coming Games in Bangkok could be deemed as a world class show and our players will have to put in their best if they want to give good news to the nation,” Wasim added.
Elaborating on the expenses of the Seoul trip, he said it would cost around Rs. 1500,000 but called the trip is indispensable for preparation for such a big event.
He also said that he had apprised the President of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) General Arif Hassan about his plans during his meeting with the top brass of the martial arts federations early December last year in Islamabad, adding this will also come under discussion during the meeting of the national federations planned by the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) in the middle of this month in the federal capital. However, Wasim showed optimism that General Arif Hassan, who is also the chairman of the Pakistan Sports Trust (PST), will definitely help him implement his plans.
About his selection plans, he replied that leading players of the national and the national ranking championships which have already been conducted by the PTF at the end of last year will be put in the camp for the Bangkok event. He added that four men and the same number of women will represent Pakistan in taekwondo in the Bangkok Games.
It is pertinent to mention here that in the Asian Martial Arts Games, players from 45 countries, would show their worth in eight different disciplines.