Pakistan will play host to players from 26 countries in a ju-jitsu event at the Punjab Sports Festival in Lahore, announced the country’s sports federation.
Pakistan Ju-Jitsu Federation (PJF) tournament director Shabina Saeed said the original plan was to host the event in June. However, the Punjab government refused to provide security and accommodation to the foreign players which caused the delay in the PJF Asian Championship.
She added that players from India, Iran, Iraq and Sri Lanka will take part in six categories at the event, while other countries will be sending at least four players to compete in three men and three female events.
Pakistan will have 52 players who will take on international athletes in the traditional kodokan judo discipline and belt wrestling sports from November 6 till 11. The event is set to start on November 6, following the National Ju-Jitsu Championship.
“It’s a huge step for the sport,” Saeed told the Express Tribune. “We’ve never hosted an international event before so the players will get a lot of encouragement and exposure at home. The event itself will help us improve our image and instill confidence in our athletes.”
‘Security not an issue’
According to an official from the All India Ju-Jitsu Federation, the team’s participation in the championship will open the door for Indian athletes to compete with Pakistan on a bilateral basis.
The official said that while the Indian players are awaiting their visas, confirmation has been made.
“Security is not an issue for us,” said an official. “If they are holding an event in connection with the Punjab government I am sure it will be safe. We are sending 16 players to Pakistan who are now waiting for their visas.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2012.