PJF seeks PSB help to field top judokas in Paris 2024 qualifiers

ISLAMABAD, Sep 28 (APP): The cash-starved Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) is looking towards Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for financial help to send top national judokas in the qualifying rounds for Paris 2024 Olympics to help them amass crucial points for the prestigious quadrennial sports extravaganza.

The upcoming events include Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, taking place from October 21-23, Perth Oceania Open 2022 from October 29-30, Baku Grand Slam from November 4-6 and Tokyo Grand Slam from December 3-4.

“We are planning to field our three key fighters – Hamid Khan (+100kg), Qaisar Afridi (-100kg) and Japan-based Shah Hussain Shah (-90kg) in these four events. It is crucial for them to compete in these events as they carry the weightage of 50
percent points,” Masood Ahmed, Vice President of PJF told APP on Wednesday.

“The IJF (International Judo Federation) has declared Perth Oceania Open equal to Grand Prix. This will offer a perfect opportunity to our judokas to collect maximum points by exhibiting good performance and brighten their chances to earn Paris tickets by improving their rankings,” he said.

The PJF vice president said that he had held a meeting with the Director General of PSB and other officials a couple of days ago and briefed them about the importance of Olympic qualifiers.

“I’ve also told them that the federation is facing scarcity of funds and it needs PSB financial backing to field the athletes in these events.

“Unfortunately, our judokas have already missed Asian championship in Kazakhstan in August due to non-availability of funds, resulting in a big loss in the initial time frame of qualifying round.

“Now we need around eight million rupees to send our athletes and their coaches for this year’s key qualifying rounds.

“Around six more qualifying events will be taking place next year, but we’ll plan about them later on as initially we are focused only on this year’s events,” he added.

He said that the federation was still waiting for the reimbursement of its remaining amount of Mongolia Grand Slam, held from June 24 to 26 in Ulaanbaatar.

According to Masood, Pakistan judokas have great potential and are capable of making a cut to the Olympics but they need chances. He said Iranian coach Sajjad Kazmi and a PJF official would also accompany the judokas during the qualifying rounds.

“We believe their presence at the qualifying round will help the judokas to perform better,” he said.

Currently, PJF’s training camp for national judokas is underway at Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad under the supervision of Sajjad. “As many as 14 men and six women judokas are attending the camp. The athletes doing well in the camp will get a chance to represent the country in next year’s South Asian Games and Asian Games,” he added.

The quotas for Paris 2024 will be allocated in line with the IJF World Ranking list during the Olympic Qualification period. It means all World Tour events held between 24 June 2022 and 23 June 2024 will impact the quota allocation.

At the end of this period, for each of the seven weight categories, the top 17 countries represented in the world ranking will each receive a quota.