KARACHI: Pakistan’s most celebrated wrestler Inam Butt says he’s heartbroken to miss the Asian Wrestling Championship due to lack of funds and government’s non-supportive attitude.
Asian Wrestling Championship is currently underway in China where Inam Butt was one of the favourites to win a medal. He was scheduled to wrestle his first bout yesterday against India’s Vicky Vijay but the Indian wrestler got the walkover as Inam couldn’t participate.
“It is very heartbreaking and disappointing to lose an opportunity like this. I was confident to win the medal but it’s very unfortunate that due to lack of funds, I just couldn’t make it,” an emotional Inam told Geo.tv.
“We didn’t get any funds, there were no funds for training camps but we got training in our local akhaaras and then we didn’t get funds for travelling,” he added.
According to Inam, for him missing Asian Championship means missing world championship as well, as this event was a qualifying round for the global championship.
“This was also a qualifying round for World Championship as according to rules it was mandatory for players to participate in the continental championship to become eligible for the world championship,” he said.
Inam is Pakistan’s most successful athlete in recent years. He was the country’s only gold medalist in Gold Coast Commonwealth Games last year. He also won a Gold medal in 2010 CWG in Delhi. In 2016, Inam won South Asian Championship medal in Gauhati. He is also the world champion of beach wrestling, a title which he has to defend this year.
“I have to play beach games this year and I appeal to the government of Pakistan to make sure that I don’t miss the event,” he said.
Inam was conferred with pride of performance award by the government of Pakistan earlier this year. However, he feels that awards lose importance if you don’t get support from the government.
“Award won’t help me get training or participate in events, what’s the use of an award when you are unable to continue playing for the country,” Inam questioned.