ISLAMABAD             -          The 14th Korean Ambassador National Taekwondo Championship will commence tomorrow (Thursday) here at Amir Khan Boxing Hall, Pakistan Sports Complex.

Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF) President Lt Col (R) Wasim Ahmed Januja announced this on Tuesday along with Korean Minister Counsellor Sang Seung Man, Counsellor KO Young-kun, PTF Women Wing President Shamim Akhtar, Treasurer Jalal Haider Khan, Raja Ulfat Fida and Arif Ali.

Waseem told The Nation, “The teams from provinces, departments, services, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad have confirmed their participation. The Korean Embassy in Islamabad, Omar Associate, Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Ltd (FFBL) and AF Powertek Engineering Fzc have been sponsoring the event. Korean Ambassador Kwak Sung-Kyu will grace the mega opening ceremony as chief guest, while FFBL Chief Executive & Managing Director Lt Gen (R) Javed Iqbal HI (M) will also be present there.

“I am grateful to Korean Embassy, as they always lend a helping hand to the federation for conducting the championship and sponsor our athletes for training in Korea. Taekwondo was introduced in Pakistan in mid 60s by the Koreans. We are confident about our athlete Haroon Khan’s chances of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. We have included the U-14 category in the national championship for preparing our juniors for the qualifying round of the Olympics, Junior Championship and Al-Fujera Cup, which are scheduled to be held next year.

“The championship comprises seniors, cadets and under-17 categories, where men and women will be seen in action. The last national championship was a huge success, as all the clubs were invited to feature in it while this year, around 650 athletes and 100 technical officials of the selected clubs will be part of this event. Pakistan Sports Board is providing us accommodation, while federation will bear the meal of the athletes and officials,” he added.

Wasim said: “All those, who won medals in 13th SAG in Nepal, will be given cash awards during the national championship, while Korean embassy has also announced to support provincial associations. The credit of polishing our athletes and transforming them into medal winners goes to the Korean Embassy.”

Sharing his views, Counsellor KO Young-kun appreciated the efforts of PTF President Col Wasim for helping taekwondo in flourishing in Pakistan. “Taekwondo is traditional martial art of Korea and is an important tool to bring Korea and Pakistan people closer. We will continue to support Pakistan taekwondo and hopefully, Pakistan athletes will earn more international glories in this game.”

To another query regarding hosting G1 event and government support in this regard, Wasim said: “It is unfortunate that we are requesting the IPC Minister and the PSB since long but so far no action has been taken. The time is very short as we have deposited the tournament organising fee with the international body and we are looking at the government to help the federation in this regard. We are hopeful that being winners of 17 medals in 13th SAG, we will be fully supported by the government and IPC Minister.”