190422 sinan 1
Sinan after winning the Silver Medal at Sofia Open Taekwondo Championship in Bulgaria Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: UAE-based Pakistani player Sinan Ashfaq won a silver medal for his country at the Sofia Open Taekwondo Championship held in Bulgaria on April 20-21.

This is Sinan’s fourth medal for Pakistan in four months this year in the international Taekwondo championships. Sinan won the semi-finals with a margin of 18 points, beating Theocharis Papapanagiotou from Greece in the plus 65 weight category in the Cadet Division. He surprised the audience with his skills against a strong opponent. Unfortunately, he narrowly missed as he lost to Dimitrije Ajdukovic from Serbia in the final after giving tough time to his opponent despite his foot injury.

190422 sianan 2
Sinan getting ready to fight at the Sofia Open Taekwondo Championship in Bulgaria Image Credit: Supplied

Sinan won a silver medal in the Belgium Open in March, a gold medal in the UAE National Championship in Sharjah in February and a gold medal in the Fujairah International Championship in January. Sinan is the first Pakistani player in the cadet category to win medals in Europe.

Sinan’s next target is the Asian Cadet Taekwondo World Cup in Jordan in July and the Cadet Taekwondo World Cup in Tashkent in August.

The 13-year-old Sharjah boy had opened with a Bronze for Pakistan at the President’s World Taekwondo Championship held in Tashkent in August 2017. Sinan is also a high performing student at the North American International School (NAIS) in Dubai.

“I am happy with my performance but also sad for not winning the gold for my country. I will work even harder to win medals for Pakistan in the upcoming events,” he said.

Sinan dedicated his medal to Prime Minister Imran Khan and also thanked the Pakistan Taekwondo Federation for supporting him.

190422 hatim
Sinan with his coach Abdullah Hatim at the Sofia Open Taekwondo Championship in Bulgaria Image Credit: Supplied

Sinan’s coach Abdullah Hatim, UAE National Team Coach and Technical Director at Sharjah Sports Club, commended Sinan’s performance considering that it was a G1 event with participation of more than 900 athletes from over 40 countries.

“Sinan is a rising star and he can bring great honours for his country if he continues to work hard,” he added. Sinan trains at the Sharjah Sport Club with Coach Hatim,

190422 ammar
Sinan with his elder brother Ammar at the Sofia Open Taekwondo Championship in Bulgaria Image Credit: Supplied

Colonel Waseem Ahmed, President, Pakistan Taekwondo Federation (PTF), said that he was very happy to see Sinan growing fast. “He is special because he chose to play for his country despite being an expatriate. We hope he would bring Pakistan honours at the two big upcoming events this year.” Sinan is younger brother of Ammar Ashfaq Ahmed, who represented Pakistan at the Junior World Cup last year and also played a number of other international events for their country.

Sinan’s Pakistani coach Nadir Khan said that he has the potential to win the Cadet World Cup this year. “We are very happy with his performance and hope that he would continue to work hard and one day we will see him in Olympics,” he added.