ISLAMABAD, Dec 24 (APP):Taekwondo is set to get a major boost in Pakistan as in a first the country is set to host two back-to-back major international events in October, next year.

“The first event has been approved by World Taekwondo wherein athletes from around the world would chip in. While the second event would be South Asian Region Championship that would take place soon after the conclusion of the first event,” Omar Saeed, the newly-elected president of South Asian Region Taekwondo Association told media on Tuesday at a news conference at the media centre of Pakistan Sports Complex.

“The first event – Pakistan Open (G-1) 2020 will be the first WTF certified event of its kind in Pakistan. Similarly, the second event will also be the first of its kind at the regional level,” Omar, who is also vice president of Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) said.

He said that holding of the second event soon after Pakistan Open would ensure maximum participation of South Asian region’s athletes in it.

Omar said that 2019 had been a very good year for Pakistan taekwondo as country’s athletes participated in 17 major international events in it, including the world championships in Manchester, UK. “In every event our athletes exhibited stunning performance and earned medals.

“Our last participation in an international event was at the South Asian Games wherein our athletes claimed three gold, seven silver and as many bronze medals.

“Considering the available resources, which we currently have for our athletes’ training and uplift, this is a phenomenal achievement,” he added.

Talking about the just-held 14th Korean Ambassador National Taekwondo Championship, he said it was the biggest event at the national level and it would help the federation select athletes to represent the country at the international level.

“We’ve noticed (at the championship) that there are some very good athletes, who can be groomed for participation at the international level.”

Talking about the aims of forming South Asian Taekwondo Association, he said other regions had their own associations such as East Asian Taekwondo Association, Oceania Taekwondo Association, West Asia Taekwondo Association but Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Maldives did not have the one like them.

“The formation of the association is basically Pakistan’s brainchild as during the SAG in Nepal, early this month PTF President Col (r) Waseem floated the idea that we should also form an association where our region’s countries can work together for the uplift of athletes.”

“The basic purpose is to give maximum opportunities to athletes of these countries by holding bilateral series and exchange programmes,” he added.

Omar said that there were several countries, who had made tremendous development in the game by following similar patterns. He said international athletes would be invited in Pakistan. “Nepal, Sri Lanka and India have very good taekwondo outfits and we can invite them for joint training camps,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion PTF President said that Pakistan’s contributions to promote taekwondo had been recognized as Omar Saeed was unanimously elected the first President of the newly-formed South Asian body.

“I expect that he’ll keep on working with the same zeal at the South Asian level as he has been serving PTF and country’s athletes.

“I also hope he’ll also take along all the regional countries and will hold bilateral series,” he said.