ISLAMABAD - The Korean int’l demonstration outfit team will feature in the 13th Korean Ambassador National Championship, which will commence here tomorrow (Saturday).

Speaking at the press conference, Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) President Col (R) Waseem Ahmed Janjua said: “As many as 25 Koreans are coming to Pakistan for showing their art and all is being sponsored by Korean embassy and we are looking forward to accord them warm welcome. The aim of conducting the event is to spread this game to all corners of the world. Last year, we conducted national championship and also included U-12, U-14 and U-10 events and this year, more than 800 athletes will showcase their skills during the championship.”

He said all the athletes will be registered with the world body. “The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Asia Regional representative is also coming to conduct the two-day seminar on November 5 and 6. All the registered players will get the right to participate in the WTF-organised G1 events and earn ranking points if they perform well. I am grateful to the sponsors for their all-out support and also promising me for helping in conducting the league. This game has potential to excel in Pakistan and when the league will be held, the athletes will earn a lot.”

Wasim said Korean embassy is also financially helping the PTF. The event has worth of Rs 7.5 or 8 million and they couldn’t get the entire sponsorship but they were close to that. “The PSB is providing facilities and venue while the federation is providing meal to 600 plus athletes and officials. We will give allowances to the provinces while the departments will bear their own expenditures. We will be providing them accommodation and charge only Rs 500 from every athlete, as per international rules.

“We purchased mats of $20,000, which have been laid in Liaqat Gymnasium. Despite writing to the government and Karachi Port authorities to exempt us duty, the federation had to pay around Rs 1 million, which if invested on the athletes, could help a lot to the game and Pakistan sports,” he added.

He said: “We are looking forward to South Asian Games and need fresh talent to represent the country at international level. During this event, every player will have 7 to 8 fights and we will get more talent. They will be taken to the national training camps, where they will be groomed for higher level events.”

To a query regarding working of task force, PTF President said: “We are not even aware of the task force’s working. I think the representatives of federations must be in the task force. Everybody talks about grassroots level, but in reality, nothing has been done as no MoU has been signed yet with schools, colleges and HEC. There is a dire need to develop infrastructure and the government should fully support every sport as it is the only way to produce champions for Pakistan.”

Waseem said the PTF was facing scarcity of funds adding that it had not been provided funds for the last eight months. “The genuine federations in the country need government’s cooperation. We hope the government will assist us. Pakistan taekwondo athletes are highly talented and they can raise Pakistan flag high at the international events.”