SAG: Shah wants to win gold for Olympic medallist dad

Elder son of Hussain Shah, a bronze medallist at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games (the first boxer from the country to win an Olympic medal), Shah now wants to win a gold in SAG for his dad — who according to him — has sacrificed a lot for him.

Shah Hussain during the practice session at South Asian Games.   -  M. Moorthy

Shah Hussain Shah is the pride of Pakistan in men’s judo at the moment. The 22-year-old, a twice Asian championship bronze medallist, is part of the 12-member Pakistan contingent at the 12th South Asian Games. He is training for the main draw, which is beginning on Monday.

Elder son of Hussain Shah, a bronze medallist at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games (the first boxer from the country to win an Olympic medal), Shah now wants to win a gold in SAG for his dad — who according to him — has sacrificed a lot for him.

“My father has won five gold medals in five SAF games. I want to dedicate the sixth to him,” he said, after his practice session, here on Saturday.

Born in London, Shah moved to Japan as a two-year-old, and studied and trained in Tokyo ever since, even as he visits Pakistan on and off.

“Judo is a sport followed and enjoyed by spectators in Japan. Throughout my school and University, I have practiced judo keenly,” he said.

After finishing his University, Shah said he is being trained by the reigning World 81 Kg champion Takanori Nagase.

“Professionally, we train together,” he said.

Shah has set his sights on Rio Olympic qualification, and he believes he has to get more than 200 points to qualify for the quadrennial event.

“There are a lot of events coming up. One of the main events is the Pan America quota in March in Argentina, and the Asian championship in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in April. I am sure I can make the grade,” said the silver medallist of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Secretary of Pakistan Judo Federation Pakistan Masood Ahmad said that Pakistan is grateful to Japan and Shah for allowing him to represent the country in International events.

“Japan has not interfered in anything and has in fact supported him. They have asked Shah to train here and represent Pakistan. It is a great gesture,” he said. “He (Shah) is our only hope in judo.”

SAG, according to Masood, is important for Pakistan, as the Government has promised to give Rs. 10 lakh to the winner of each category.

Shah, who is participating in the minus-100 Kg category said, “I am keen and excited. Full power,” he remarked, showing his fist.