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Pakistan Boxers Could Pull Off Surprises at Asian Games

Pakistan’s boxing coach Arshad Hussain on Tuesday said that the Asian bronze medallist Zohaib Rasheed and Ibrahim will pull off surprises in the Asian Games which also serve as qualifying round for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Both these have come into top shape and I expect a lot from them in the Asian Games,” Arshad told ‘The News’ from Islamabad.

Arshad said that Zohaib has gained a lot of confidence.

“He is now looking more confident. We changed his speed work and the techniques a little which has boosted his speed and his punches have also gained power. And now he can engineer more powerful punches which will help him in the Asian Games,” said Arshad, also a former Olympian.

“If you see him now you will find how much he has improved. I have a lot of expectations from him and he can give us a surprise in the Asian Games,” Arshad said.

“His range has increased which gives him an advantage,” Arshad was quick to add.

He said that Ibrahim, who belongs to Swat, has also improved.

“We have worked on him furter. He is a valiant fighter. I hope he will also deliver in Hangzhou,” said Arshad, an IBA three-star coach.

Zohaib, who has to his credit bronze in the Asian Senior Boxing Championship and Asian Under-22 Championship, will compete in China in the 48.51 kg. Ibrahim, who will be making his debut in Hangzhou, will flex his muscles in the 62-63.5 kg.

Besides these two, Qasim will compete in the 54-57kg while Fatima Zahra will flex her muscles in the 57 kg. Arshad also appreciated Fatima.

“She is also improving a lot. She is hard working and I hope she will also deliver in the Asian Games,” Arshad said.

Seasoned Sanaullah was also part of the touring party but according to sources his chances of featuring in the Asian Games have diminished as he has got injured during warm-up. According to a source he crashed with the pole of football ground and broke his teeth.

He has left the camp but the source said that his fate will be decided after a medical check-up.

“He is yet to undergo a medical check-up. He is training at his hometown,” the source said.

After the Asian Games, national boxers will get a couple of more chances in the shape of the world qualifying rounds for 2024 Paris Olympics.

The first world qualifying round will be held in Italy from February 29 to March 12 and the second will be conducted in Bangkok from May 23 to June 23. Arshad said that the Asian Games will also be a testing event for the selected lot and their performance will be assessed before picking any boxer for the world qualifying rounds.

“Definitely I don’t think we will retain the whole Asian Games-bound lot for the next year’s world qualifying rounds. Their performance in the Asian Games will be assessed and then we will retain those who do well. We will test some others too. But currently our focus is on the Asian Games where we will try to secure Olympics qualification,” Arshad said.

He said that he has reduced the work load of the fighters as they are entering the competition phase.

“We have reduced the load and we now only work for an hour on speed and skills,” Arshad said.

National boxers will depart for Hangzhou on September 19 to feature in the Asian Games. The draws will be held on September 22. An official of Pakistan Boxing Federation confirmed that Sanaullah’s name has been withdraw because of his injury.

Source: GeoSuper