ISLAMABAD - RFLt Col (r) Wasim Ahmed Janjua was re-elected as Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) president for a term of four years during the executive committee meeting held here at a local hotel in Rawalpindi on Sunday.

The PTF elected Lt Gen (r) Javed Iqbal, HI (M), as patron, Iftikhar Ahmed Tabassum as advisor to the federation, Saba Shamim Jadoon as women wing president while the strangest inclusion in the federation was Najia Rasool, who was elected a as deputy secretary. She was previously looking after the federation’s affairs but as a player and now she is officially launched in the federation.

When this scribe contacted Wasim to seek the reason behind Najia’s inclusion in the federation, he said: “Technically, now Najir can’t represent the country in Khurgi, but she can still play in Poamsea. She is experienced lady and her inclusion in the federation will boost females’ participation and she can help Saba Shamim in the best possible fashion. We need her to not only train young girls, but also prove a source of inspiration for youth.”

About retaining Saba Shamim as women wing president and her achievements, Wasim said: “Saba is a very dedicated and hardworking lady and ensures her presence in all the meetings and events. She is also POA executive committee member while she is also instrumental in working on females. She is in talks with Turkish and Jordanian federations to take Pakistani females there for training and tournament purposes. Her presence can further help young females adopt this game as professional career.” About patron, the president said: “Lt Gen (r) Javed Iqbal is a true sports lover and he will help the federation in different areas and also arranging sponsors and funds for the athletes.”

When asked on what grounds and performances, he had decided to run for another term, Waism said: “The biggest achievement of my previous four-year tenure was winning bronze medal in Olympic qualifiers, which was won by Atif in 2016. I also conducted a good number of national tournaments, also sent athletes abroad for international tournaments and arranged training courses for the players. This was all done in only Rs 2.5 million grant, which is too less to pay employees’ salary and office rent. In such meager amount, it is almost impossible to run the affairs of the federation, but with the help of sponsors and my friends, I took every possible step to facilitate the athletes in the best possible fashion.”

He thanked IPC minister Riaz Pirzada and PSB Director General Akhtar Ganjera for providing the PTF top class Korean coach. “It is indeed a huge help to the federation and athletes. We will start training camp of 50 athletes (both males and females) from February 15. It will continue round the year, as we are paying $2,000 monthly salary and other perks and privileges to the coach. We want to get maximum benefits from the coach. We are also thankful to the PSB for providing us with latest equipment worth around Rs 3.5 million.

“Off course, Rs 2.5 million annual grant is not more than peanuts. I request the IPC minister to look into our request and enhance the grant, as he has mentioned time and again that those federations, which are winning international medals, will get big boost in their grants, so being one of the most successful federations, who is winning international medals on regular basis, the PTF deserves better grant,” he added.

He said his biggest dream is to ensure Pakistan athletes must qualify for 2020 Olympics. “I am not expecting them to win medals yet, but participation in the mega event is the first goal. Our 20 to 25 athletes (males and females) will depart for UAE to take part in the Fujairah International event and we will send maximum youngsters for the event. My main focus is youth and I will provide them with maximum facilities and opportunities, so that they may win the medals for the country.”

He said he had set his eyes on Asian Games and World Youth Championship. The Youth Olympics qualifying round will be held in Tunisia from April 5. “We are quite hopeful about our athletes’ satisfactory results.”