ISLAMABAD                    -              Pakistan will host G1 and First South Asian Taekwondo Championship simultaneously in October 2020, which will help taekwondo flourish in Pakistan.

It was announced by newly-elected President of South Asian Taekwondo Association (SATA) Umer Saeed, along with Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) President Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Janjua and Secretary Murtaza Bangash, during the press conference held here at Pakistan Sports Complex Media Centre on Tuesday. Umer said: “It was long felt that an association of South Asia must help the game flourish in this region, as there were already associations working in different regions.

“Col Wasim flouted the idea during the 13th SAG in Nepal. I am highly grateful that I was nominated by Col Wasim and special thanks to India and hosts Nepal, who not only welcomed the idea, but also wholeheartedly backed us, as without their support, Pakistan could never earn the honor of being elected president of the association. We also have Secretary Murtaza Bangash and member Shamim Akhtar from Pakistan and soon we will sit and discuss with other countries and announce other office-bearers,” he added.

Umer said he has been elected as SATA President for two years while Sri Lanka is going to host next SAG in 2021. “They will get SATA President slot automatically and it will pass on to other members as well. The basic aim and challenge at the moment for me is to spread this wonderful Olympics sports to every corner of the country and also start exchange programmes with member countries. Nepal is the hub of world taekwondo activities and we want to take benefit from their expertise.

“The recently-concluded 14th Korean Ambassador National Taekwondo championship has unearthed lot of talent. We have noted the top performers like Shahzaib and a few girls, who, if provided with best facilities and training, can excel for the country at international level. We have participated in 19 top international events this year, while we also took part in Manchester World Championship, where we managed to win silver and bronze medals, while in 13th SAG in Nepal, we won 3 gold, 7 silver and as many bronze medals, which I think is tremendous achievement of our athletes and speak volumes about how much the PTF is active in highly limited resources.

“The federation has not missed a single mega event and also hired top Korean coach for our athletes, who is waiting for salary for last two months. The file is pending with the IPC and the PSB. I request IPC Minister Dr Fehmida Mirza to help the federation, which doesn’t demand over-the-moon things, but at least meager help according to our international performances,” he added.

Umer said they are ready to start taekwondo academies in Islamabad and Karachi but they just want the IPC Minister to allocate pieces of land where they may construct academies. “Without investing on athletes, we can’t get results. In less than one-week camp, we managed to win 17 medals in the 13th SAG and if training and infrastructure is provided to our athletes, they can win more and more gold medals in almost every international event. Unless the persons like Col Wasim Ahmed and others are serving Pakistan taekwondo, it is bound to flourish and excel.

“The G1 event is the very first top class event, which is allocated by World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and also recommended by Asian Taekwondo Council (ATC). It will take around Rs 60 million to conduct the event in Pakistan, while 1st SAG Taekwondo Championship will also cost around Rs 20 million. We don’t demand government to bear entire cost, but at least the IPC Minister should allocate some funds and latest equipment to our athletes, as without equipment, they stand nowhere against international athletes. I request the IPC Minister and Secretary to look into our humble request, as it is about future of Pakistan. I am ready to splash more cash, but the government should also play it’s due role,” Umer concluded.

Sharing his views, PTF President Lt Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Janjua said: “It is indeed a great honor not only for Umer and the PTF but also for the country that Umer is elected as SATA President unopposed. India has assured us that they will not only send strong contingent for the G1 event but also for the 1st South Asian Taekwondo Championship. It is a huge project and it will take taekwondo in Pakistan to next level. I have great meetings with Dr Fehmida and IPC Secretary Akbar Hussian Durrani in Nepal, who are fully aware about our results and they have promised to help us out.

“Now it is the time for action. The PSB is like a white elephant and there is acre of space available there. We need land so that we may start dream project of academies and invite top coaches, who may pass on knowledge to our athletes and coaches. I am thankful to AAA CEO Ahmed Khan for his time and promised to help the federation in holding G1 and SA Championship, while our Patron Gen Ramdey is also keen to help the federation,” he added. Later, Fateha was offered for the departed soul of PTF Women Wing President Shamim Akhtar’s brother, who died last night.