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May 26, 2019

PBF intends to field leading boxers in Olympic qualifiers

Sports

May 26, 2019

KARACHI: Following the recent development in international boxing it has now become clear that boxing will stay in next year's Tokyo Olympics despite the fact that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suspended the management of world boxing governing body (AIBA).

IOC has formed a special task force which will be headed by the president of International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Morinari Watanabe, who is also an IOC member. Besides other things, the task force will handle the Olympic qualifiers to be held between January and May 2020 and the boxing competitions in Olympics.

IOC has also instructed all National Olympic Committees (NOCs) from around the world to back their national boxing federations so that they could prepare and feature in the qualifiers.

Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) also intends to field its leading boxers in the Olympic qualifiers. “Definitely, we will try our best to field our leading boxers in the Olympic qualifiers,” PBF president Khalid Mehmood told 'The News' on Saturday.

Pakistan once had a strong say on boxing, especially in Asia, but it has been struggling for the last 14 years to return to Olympic fold in boxing.

The last time Pakistani boxers featured in Olympics was in 2004 in Athens. After that only once Pakistan reached close to earning an Olympic seat when the now professional fighter Mohammad Waseem reached flyweight quarter-finals in the Asian qualifying round in Astana ahead of the 2012 London Olympics. But he lost there.

“We have three events this year. We have already conducted the National Boxing Championship recently and we have ahead National Games and then the South Asian Games. After South Asian Games we will have one and half months before the Olympic Qualifiers. Our plan is to impart quality training to our leading boxers,” said Khalid, also secretary of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA).

“Through the support of POA, government and Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC), we will try to send our best boxers to China or Tajikistan for training,” Khalid said.

PBF released national rankings after the National Championship in Islamabad recently. The ranking will be valid till the National Games which will be held at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from October 26 to November 1.

PBF intends to hold a training camp for the South Asian Games from June 15 at Islamabad. “We have already written to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) for a training camp for SAG from June 15. It would be a great move if we got a camp in time,” PBF secretary Col Nasir Tung said.

Pakistan's experienced coach Arshad Hussain said if the boxers were trained continuously for a few months, they could do wonders in the Olympic qualifiers. “We have eight boys who can qualify if they are kept in the camp for a few months and are given international exposure,” Arshad told this correspondent.

“In 2008 Olympics we had some good boxers and we tried our best but we could not qualify. And you know after that nothing proper was done for boxing promotion by the previous chiefs of the federation,” said Arshad, an AIBA 3-star coach.

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