ISLAMABAD - Karate player Saadi Abbas has said that he has bright chances of winning gold medal in the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Talking to The Nation, Saadi said: “As I have already won gold medal in the Asian Games in the past too and I am ready to achieve this feat again for my country. I am preparing hard for winning not less than gold and if draws are good, I have no doubt about my chances of doing well and winning medal for Pakistan.”

Saadi said: “Everyone knows that I am the only karate player, who has honor of winning Asian gold, world gold, US Open gold and Commonwealth gold but despite winning all these big events for my country, my services were never appreciated, which is the main reason that the youngsters don’t want to pursue careers in karate. Only few, who turned their focus towards karate, just because getting jobs and secure futures, they have no intention and desire to represent the country and win international medals for it.”

The medal winning karate player said that for the last decade of so, he is appealing to different governments for getting his basic rights. “I was called by former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani at PM House, when he was premier. I was very excited and hoping that the government would announce cash incentives for me, so that I could train in Europe, Africa, America and Iran, as karate these days are so advanced but I got nothing.

“I am world number 33 and in super series, I am world number 15. I last time finished top 10 in super series, while I won silver in Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku. Had I not lost against world champion in the final bout, I would have won gold. Even then I gave him real run for his money, I was given rousing welcome by Chinese, when I played there and termed me the best future hope.

“Now I am 30 and I have been playing karate for the last 23 years. I have given almost my entire life, but I was never ever sponsored by government, Pakistan Karate Federation (PKF), but despite limited resources and lack of funds, the PKF always lent helping hand and sent me abroad for international fights,” he added.

He further said that he has potential and guts to excel at international level like he did in a number of international events, where he finished on podium and won glories for the country. “Karate is very tough sports, as we have to fight 4 fights for ensuring medal. In 8 hours, we have to go through 4 fights, so we need to focus very hard, mentally and physically. I have witnessed that international players and coaches watch my videos and prepare very well. They pinpoint my mistakes, while I can easily claim that our local coaches are very good, but they have limited experience and almost zero exposure. I know it will be very expensive to hire international coach for players like me but the government and PSB should invite top class coach and train not only players but also our local coaches under them, as it will serve Pakistan in years to come.

“I have never demanded over the moon facilities but my records are ample example about what I can do, if provided with funds, so I request government to allocate only Rs 2.5 million annually for me, which will enable me to train in different countries, participate in international competitions and win medals for the country.

“My ultimate dream is to represent Pakistan in Olympics, a feat, which no judoka has done so far. I have to play highly competitive matches to fulfill my dream. In Olympics, top 9 fighters of the world reflex their muscles and vie for top honours. If I fight well, remain focused and have favourable draws, I can not only qualify for the Olympics, but can also finish on podium,” Saadi concluded.