Pakistani women may not be catching a ticket to the Commonwealth Games themselves, but they can certainly help their Indian counterparts prepare for the Commonwealth Games’ Judo competition scheduled for next month.
The 10-women squad including South Asian Judo Championship gold medalist Humera Ashique, silver medalists Mariam Jabbar, Beenish Khan, bronze medalists Ambreen Masih, Shumaila Gul, Fauzia Mumtaz and emerging talent Aqsa Hussain, Rabia Babar and Iran Shahzadi will travel to Patiala in June.
According to Pakistan Judo Federation (PJF) secretary Masood Ahmed, the female squad received rave reviews at the South Asian Championship in Nepal in April.
Ahmed said that since Pakistan is not fielding a team at Commonwealth Games due to Pakistan Olympics Association and Pakistan Government conflict, the athletes will now help the neighbours to vie for the title in Glasgow in July.
“Since we can’t go, we’ll help them, we are South Asian nationss anyway, it’s a great deal for both parties,” Ahmed told The Express Tribune.
Ahmed said that the Indian official Mukesh Kumar invited Pakistani athletes to Patiala for the training sessions for 20 days.
“It’s going to happen next month, we’ve been invited to Patiala where the Indian squad is preparing,” said Ahmed.
“Kumar invited our female athletes because they are impressive, they’ve given a tough competition to the Indian, Nepalese and Sri Lankan judokas in the championship,” he said.
Furthermore, he proposed that Pakistani women can come to the Indian national camp in Patiala, where they have the best facilities for the sports. Ahmed said that the practice with Pakistani athletes will help the Indian women improve for Commonwealth Games.
“It will also be a great amount of exposure for our squad.”
Ahmed added that the invitation means more than just an opportunity.
“It is recognition of our talent by our counter-parts, and it’s welcoming. It’s an encouragement for our athletes that they are good enough and that their efforts are not going unseen. In many ways it is an honour and a great way to promote healthy relations between two nations,” said Ahmed.
He said that the team’s visas are in the process and hopefully they will get the documents for travel on time, as the Indian Judo Federation is cooperating with Pakistan.