Judoka Shah Hussain off to Brazil for Tokyo Olympic campaign

ISLAMABAD, Oct 04 (APP):Pakistan’s Japan-based judoka, Shah Hussain Shah on Friday departed for Brazil as part of his campaign to feature in various judo events across the globe and amass points to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

“Yes, he has left for Brazil from Tokyo today to compete at Brasilia Grand Slam that takes place from October 6 to 8,” Pakistan Judo Federation’s (PJF) vice president Masood Ahmed told APP on Friday.

According to Masood the federation was suffering from financial crunch and hence it had requested Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to support it for arranging Shah’s trip. “We are thankful to Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Dr Fahmida Mirza and Director General PSB Arif Ibrahim for showing keen interest in Shah’s participation in the event (Brasilia Grand Slam).

“Around Rs 0.7 million to Rs 0.8 million were needed for Shah’s participation in the event. We would not have been able to send him if we were not given assurance by the board to go ahead with our plan,” he added.

The 26-year-old, who contests in 100 kg division also has the honour to bear Pakistan’s flag at Rio Olympics 2016. His recent outing was in Japan in August, this year where he participated in the World Judo Championships but conceded defeat in a well-fought pre quarterfinal fixture. However, his world ranking was improved and currently he stands at the 62nd position.

Masood said that to be able to raise in the rankings the judoka would have to feature in a number of events. “That means he’ll have to compete at least twice in a month in some events. The more fights he makes, the better it will be as the rankings keep on changing after every competition,” he added.

The judo Olympic qualifying period, which commenced on May 25, last year would end on May 25, next year. Various international judo events contribute towards accumulation of ranking points and top athletes will be selected in May 2020.

The PJF vice president said that after the Brasilia Grand Slam, the federation would send Shah in a series of other events – Grand Slam UAE, to be held from October 23 to 28, Oceania Open, taking place in Australia from November 2 to 6, Japan Grand Slam from November 21 to 25, Asian Open, scheduled to be held in Hong Kong from November 29 to December 2 and Qingdao Open from December 11 to 15 in China.

As per International Judo Federation rules if a judoka gets 54th Olympic ranking position and maintains that till the end of qualifiers he would be able to earn a spot for prestigious event on continental quota. Whereas to directly qualify for the coveted event a judoka must be at number 18 in his division. Shah is just eight points behind to reserve a ticket on continental quota. Masood said that he had the capability to reach to that level even in the Brasilia event.

“He is well prepared for the competition. He has undergone rigorous training with Japanese judokas in Tokyo. We are sure he will make up a good competition,” Masood maintained.

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