ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's lone Commonwealth silver medal winner and Taekwando queen Najia Rasool Khan requested Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera to provide latest censor equipped hugos to players to stand realistic chance of winning medals in the upcoming South Asian Games in India next year.

Talking to The Nation, Najia said: “I have honour to win a great number of medals for Pakistan at national and international levels. I am also coaching the females and want to open an international-standard taekwondo academy in Islamabad. I feel females need to learn martial arts for their own safety purposes and also utilize their abilities at international forum. I request the PSB, IPC and government to allocate land and construct academy equipped with modern tools. It is my challenge I can produce international standard players within short span of time.”

“I have attended a lot of training courses abroad. There is an urgent need of hiring international coach from Korea or Iran, who may train our players properly. It makes no sense of conducting two-month camp and send players for international competitions. There is an urgent need of ensuring international training and conducting training camps round the year to stand realistic chance of winning medals. I was never provided any opportunity to represent Pakistan in SAF Games, as the organisers reduce a number of categories to only 4 or 5. Same is case with the SAF Games in India, as instead of eight weight categories, they have decided to include only five in females, while males will contest in eight categories,” she added.

When asked about Pakistani players realistic chances of winning SAF Games medals, Najia replied: “If our main players are given chance in their respective weight categories, we stand bright chances of winning even gold medals. But for this, we also need to be trained in the camps with latest equipments. The PTF has equipment, but it is only used in competitive competitions. The PSB must provide us latest equipment imported from Spain, like hugos, shin guards and other things. Nobody can expect miracles without providing the latest equipments to the players.”

“Our players need international exposure and maximum competitions. Holding only one senior and junior championships once a year is not enough to produce international standard players. Departments and corporate sector must contribute in enhancing the number of national events so that the players may get much-needed exposure. Col Waseem is doing a fantastic job and spending from his personal pocket. The PSB and government must allocate special grant for Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) and should provide jobs to the players,” she said.

“I am the undisputed ladies champion for the last eight years, but I am jobless. I was working with Army but left job early this year, as I was getting frustrated and wanted to do for this sport. I would visit different schools and colleges after SAF Games to pass on my knowledge to grassroots level. Without working in schools and colleges, we can't enhance pool of players. The government must take good care of the daughters of the nation.

“Being the national champion and winner of international medals, I deserve better treatment. Scholarships should be provided to the players so that they may focus fully on their performance instead of worrying about earning bread and butter for their families. The PSB is providing good facilities to the players, meal is also very good, but we need equipment, as without it, we can't train accordingly and produce desired results,” Najia concluded.