Pak­istan box­ers to leave for last Olympics qual­i­fiers to­day

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS -

IS­LAM­ABAD—A seven-mem­ber Pak­istan box­ing out­fit will depart for Baku, Azer­bai­jan from Is­lam­abad Air­port on Mon­day night to fea­ture in the last world qual­i­fy­ing round for this sum­mer’s Olympics. “This is the only re­main­ing chance for our pugilists to book a place in Olympics,” Sec­re­tary Pak­istan Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion (PBF) Iqbal Hus­sain told APP on Sun­day.Box­ers from around the world will chip in these qual­i­fiers, sched­uled to be held from June 16 to 25.

Iqbal sounded op­ti­mistic that at least a cou­ple of Pak­istani box­ers would be able to make a cut to the Rio. “All our box­ers are in good shape. They’ve un­der­gone tough train­ing at a camp at Pak­istan Sport Com­plex Is­lam­abad. I’m sure the na­tion will soon hear good news,” Iqbal added.

The PBF had set up an in­ten­sive train­ing pro­gramme for 20 box­ers at the camp un­der na­tional box­ing coach Ar­shad Hus­sain, an AIBA three-star coach. Ar­shad was as­sisted by for­mer in­ter­na­tional and AIBA on­es­tar coach Nisar Khan. How­ever, fi­nally seven box­ers from dif­fer­ent weight cat­e­gories were se­lected to rep­re­sent the coun­try at these qual­i­fiers.

Those vy­ing in the event to ful­fill their Olympic dream in­clude, Awais Ali Khan (81kg), Mo­ham­mad Tan­veer (75kg), Amir Khan (69kg), US-born Umar Cheema (64kg), Ali Ahmed (60kg), Nia­mat­ul­lah (56kg) and Mo­ham­mad Asif (52kg).

If any Pak­istani boxer qual­i­fies for Rio Olympics it will be af­ter a gap of 12 years that the coun­try will have rep­re­sen­ta­tion in box­ing at the world’s most pres­ti­gious mul­ti­sports event. Pak­istan’s last ap­pear­ance at Olympics in box­ing was in 2004, when in Athens five Pak­istani box­ers fea­tured in var­i­ous weight cat­e­gories. How­ever, none of them could even ad­vance to the quar­ter­fi­nal stage. Syed Hus­sain Shah won a bronze medal for Pak­istan in box­ing in the mid­dleweight di­vi­sion (71 - 75 kg) at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Till to date, he is one of the only two in­di­vid­ual Olympic medal­lists for the coun­try.—APP

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