ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTWF) President Lt Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Janjua confirmed that four athletes and one coach have left for Korea to prepare for the upcoming Junior Asia and World Inter University Championships.

Talking to The Nation, Col Wasim said: “Pakistan’s most successful athlete/coach Najia Khan has accompanied the boys as coach, as her trained athletes have done wonders in the recently-concluded World Championship in UK and now her focus is mainly on coaching, so the federation wanted to get benefit from her vast experience and unmatched international exposure.

“The players, who departed to get modern and state-of-the-art training in Korea include Jabran Asad Khan, Gulbeen Hekmat Yar Khan, Mohammed Danish and Taimur Saeed. All these youngsters are the future of taekwondo and have already made name for them as well as for the country,” he added.

Col Wasim revealed that these athletes along with coach will remain in Korea for three weeks before returning to Pakistan and then leave for Jordan for three back-to-back events including Asian Junior, Cadet and G-1 for seniors. “These athletes have been sent on sponsors and on self-finance basis, however, with the effort of the PTWF, their accommodation and food will be the responsibility of Taekwondo Promotion Foundation, while Korean embassy has also supported in this regards by informing Taekwondo Promotion Foundation to look after Pakistani athletes.”

Earlier, Pakistan’s another bright international medal-winning prospect Haroon Khan attended the course and performed exceptionally well in the last world event, he added.

The PTWF president said that the Asian Junior will start from July 20 and then after three days, Cadet Championship will begin and in the last phase, G1 Senior Championship will get underway. The events will conclude on July 28. “Tamior Saeed has won gold medal in last national championship, while he has also won silver at international stage. Taimoor is playing last few junior events and then will switch to senior events by the end of this year. We will send Ammar Ashfaq for Junior Asian Championship while Sanin will represent Pakistan in Cadet Championship.

“Asif Saad will play in Cadet championship in Jordan while Jabbar will be utilised in South Asian Games (SAG) in Nepal. Same is the case with senior player as Gulbeen will be utilised in SAG, while 15-year-old Danish will be playing in Asian Juniors,” he added.

Col Wasim said that they have informed Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) about athletes and coach being deputed to Korea for training purposes. “In highly limited resources, we have taken all the possible steps in order to provide our athletes maximum exposure, tournaments and training facilities aboard.

“We have not received any grant from the PSB yet and we hope that IPC Minister Dr Fahmida Mirza will prefer us seeing our unparallel record of winning international medals for last several years. The PSB is about to release special grants for few federations on the basis of performances, so I am sure we top the list and deserve this grant.

“I request IPC Minister to not only allocate hefty amount for the PTWF in the present list of performing federations, but also allocate special funds so that we may send top players abroad for getting modern-day training and preparing them for mega events like Olympics,” Col Wasim concluded.