Hopes alive as Shah has chance to make a cut to Rio

ISLAMABAD: Shah Hussain is all set to become first Pakistani judoka to make the cut to Olympics thanks to his recent outings in Rio qualifications that helped him seal a place in the coveted sports event through continental quota.  

“According to the recently released International Judo Federation (IJF) list, Shah has qualified for the Games under the continental quota. Though the IJF will release final list on May 30, his place is more or less certain,” Secretary Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) Masood Ahmed told APP on Tuesday.

According to Masood, Shah, who turns 23 on 8th of next month has bagged the continental quota in -100kg category of the event by virtue of his commendable showings in qualifiers that fetched 246 valuable points for him. “Though he failed to claim a medal in the qualifiers, yet his performance has been good.

“However, we are a little bit careful as final list is yet to be released. Currently, things are moving in our way and if ranking does not change by the end of ongoing month, he’ll be the first

Pakistani judoka to qualify for the Olympics,” he added. To a query he said that he could not say how Shah would perform in Rio stating, “It’ll be premature to say how well he will do in the event. But nothing is impossible. He has still time and if he works hard he’ll even have a podium finish.”

He said the federation would do its best to provide all possible facilities to Shah to prepare for the event. “His Iranian coach Sajjad Kazmi is on a two-month leave. Hence, we are considering to send him to Iran so that he may get chance to train under his coach. We’ve also cordial relations with Iran’s Olympic Committee and will request them to allow Shah to prepare with their Olympic squad,” he added.

There are a total of 100 quota places – 60 for men and 40 for women in seven weight categories. Europe has 25 (14 men, 11 women), Africa 24 (14 men, 10 women) Asia 20 (12 men, 8 women), Oceania 10 (7 men, 3 women), while Pan America has 21 (13 men, 8 women).- APP