ISLAMABAD-Col Junaid Alam was elected as president and Mansoor Ahmed secretary general of the Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) in its annual general council meeting held here on Saturday.

Pakistan Army's Sports Board Deputy Director General Col Junaid Alam was elected PJF chief unopposed while Mansoor got 15 votes against his opponents Ramzan Butt and Zafar Iqbal, who could secure only two votes each. All the other office-bearers were also elected unopposed. Fahmida Butt was the first ever women representative of the PJF, who, for the first time in Pakistan’s judo history, was elected women wing’s vice president.

Outgoing PJF president Col Rana Shujat Ali was elected as chairman while Professor Dr Ibadat Yar Khan elected senior vice president and Dr Bashir Ahmed, Abdul Malik and Masood Ahmed vice presidents. The PJF will elect one more vice-president in its general council meeting. Besides, eight members of executive council were also elected by the 26 affiliated PJF units for the next term.

Talking to The Nation, Col Junaid said: “I have taken over this responsibility because I have long association with martial arts and I know how much potential Pakistanis possess in this sport. I have some very good plans to uplift this game in Pakistan, which will soon be implemented in true letter and spirit.”

He said: “Judo is the only sport, in which all the participating players won medals in the 12th South Asian Games held in India in February this year, while our athletes had won a lot of laurels at international level as well. Although Shah Hussian Shah doesn’t reside in Pakistan, but he always prefers to represent Pakistan and carries green flag. He could have easily represented any given country, as a number of top countries offer citizenship to medal-winning athletes, but he declined all offers and decided in favour of Pakistan.” Junaid said he had personally requested Col Shujat to continue as PJF chairman, as he had international links and enjoyed too much respect world over. “We want to take advantage from his experience, but I will make major decisions in consultations with the elected members. I will convene a meeting soon and chalk out comprehensive future plans.”

When asked about talent hunt programme, he said: “Yes, it is need of the hour to introduce fresh blood. Army has always contributed in national sports and given the country a number of international medal-winning athletes. We will introduce army-style training and diet programmes for the players and try to take major stakeholders onboard, as everybody knows well how much Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) provides the PJF as annual grant, which is not even enough to run its day-to-day affairs. I will use all my contacts and good offices to get respectable sponsorship for the athletes.”

He said without involving corporate sector no sports could flourish. “I will try to hold meetings with mobile sector, banking sector, airline sector and try to take them onboard as early as possible. My main focus will be on inviting foreign coach to pass on their knowledge to our coaches so that they may train more and more coaches, as it costs too much to send one or two coaches of players abroad and only certain individuals take advantage from that but by inviting a coach, we can pass on the benefits to the entire generation.” To a query, he said: “The foreign-based players are utilised by almost all the major countries and Pakistan is not exceptional case, but we will try to provide equal opportunities to local players as well. It is their right to get maximum exposure, but as I told that I just took over the office and soon share my plans. “I am here to bring revolution in Pakistan judo and want to provide players maximum facilities besides providing jobs, covering medical bills and other benefits,” Junaid concluded.