KARACHI: Pakistan’s premier karateka and 2020 Tokyo Olympics prospect Saadi Abbas failed to live up to expectations in the -75 kilogramme category of the Asian Karate Championships which concluded in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Saturday.
Saadi, whose Olympic ranking was 21 before the continental event, began his journey with a loss when he went 2-3 down to a good fighter Ken Nishimura of Japan in his first fight.
Ken’s Olympic ranking is three and he seems to be a sure qualifier for the 2020. After the loss, Saadi was given a repechage. He won his first bout there when he outsmarted Sandi Firmansyah of Indonesia 4-3. But he faced an exit when he went 0-2 down to Bahman Ghoncheh Asgari of Iran in his next fight.
Before going into the event, Saadi told ‘The News’ that he direly needed a medal in the continental event as in that case he could have boosted his qualifying chance for the Olympics.
Saadi is yet to feature in three more major events this year and a few next year within the qualifying time-frame.
Meanwhile, in the -84 kg, Pakistan’s Mohammad Awais faced an early exit when he lost to Kuiwei of China 4-7 in the first fight.
Similarly, Naseer Ahmed, in the -67kg competitions first fight, defeated Cheung Chun Hei of Honk Kong 4-1 before losing to Pranay Sharma of India in the next fight.
Waqar Khan also suffered an early exit after losing to Ramil Jayson Macaalay of Philippines 6-9 in his first fight.