If I were a cricketer I'd be in a better position: karateka Saadi Abbas

Faizan Lakhani
Karate athlete Saadi Abbas. Photo: File

Pakistan's top karate athlete Saadi Abbas has expressed his disappointment over the mistreatment of non-cricket sportspersons whom have suffered due to the lack of investment in their respective sports, Geo News reported. 

The Asian and Commonwealth Karate Championship medalist said that he was often left feeling "like a beggar" when he sought funds for his participation in events.

"Federal government, the provincial government, and even corporates are least interested in any sport other than cricket. They spend millions on cricket but they are reluctant to spend even one million for an athlete's Olympic qualifiers," Saadi said.

"What is more painful is that they're not willing to understand that other sports are equally important and are also bringing laurels. If I was a cricketer, I would've been in a better position," he said.

Saadi said that initially, he would spend money from his pocket for his travels and participation in training and tournaments.

"Other athletes would ask me why am I spending from my pocket," he said.

The 32-year-old recalled how he dislocated his knee during the Asian Games quarter-final bout and no one from Pakistan came forward to help him.

"I was aiming for a medal and during the fight, my knee dislocated. Even at the fight, Koreans came to provide me initial aid. When I tried to get it treated no one was there to help me with the expenses," he said.

"When we see other teams, they travel with all medical and support staff. They get all the facilities and everything is smoothly arranged but for us, due to limited budget, we have to cut the cost and this practice dents a player's morale," he said.

Replying to a question, Saadi said that he wants to organize a Karate league in the country.

"I can get top foreign professionals to come to Pakistan and play along with our players. All I need is financial support as such an event can change the fortune of karate players in Pakistan."

If I were a cricketer I'd be in a better position: karateka Saadi Abbas