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Alam Zeb Safi
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
From Print Edition


KARACHI: Pakistan’s hopes to book an Olympic berth for London 2012 were dashed on Monday when their star boxer Mohammad Waseem lost to Nyambayar Tugstsogt of Mongolia in the flyweight quarter-final of the AIBA Asian Qualifying Round for Olympics in Astana, Kazakhstan.


Waseem, who had defeated Zarip Jumayev of Turkmenistan in the pre-quarter-final on Saturday, failed to repeat his performance against a young but well-trained Tugstsogt — the World Championship silver medalist — going down 22-9 with the round scores of 5-2, 9-3, 8-4. With the victory, the Mongolian has qualified for London Games for the first time in his short but bright boxing career.


With the fall of Waseem, Pakistan’s campaign ended on a sad note.


“It was a sad end to our campaign,” Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) secretary Mohammad Akram Khan told ‘The News’.


“I wonder why Waseem conceded the game so easily,” he lamented. Pakistan’s boxing authorities should blame themselves for the poor showing of their boxers in the qualifiers because they did not fully focus on their preparations. They had planned to send the boxers to Kazakhstan for month-long training ahead of the qualifiers but failed to do so. A poor selection for the vital assignment was also one of the reasons behind the country’s pathetic display in Astana.


Earlier in the day, Mohammad Nisar became the fourth casualty for Pakistan when he was thrashed by Birzhan Zhakipov of Kazakhstan in the light flyweight category in which a single Olympic seat is up for grab for the Asians.


In the one-sided affair, the 2010 Asian Games gold medalist Birzhan almost gave no chance to the Pakistani boxer to offer any resistance, sealing a 25-5 win with the round scores of 7-2, 7-2 and 11-1.


On Sunday, Zulqarnain Abbas lost to the 2011 Incheon Asian Championship bronze medalist Byamba Tuvshinbat from Mongolia in the welterweight quarter-final in the second round on RSC with the round scores of 6-1, 7-3. On Friday, the 18-year old Riaz was outclassed by Turkmenistan’s Serdar Hudayberdiyev in his light welterweight category’s fight in the preliminaries with the round scores of 10-2, 5-2, 6-2 while Niamatullah lost his bantamweight pre-quarter-final against the 2004 Athens Olympics silver medalist Worapoj Petchkoom of Thailand on Saturday.


After Pakistan’s boxing voyage in quest of a ticket for London experienced a setback, the country will now be only represented by its hockey team in the world’s most prestigious event. Pakistan hockey team had won the slot by winning gold medal in the 2010 China Asian Games.


Pakistan are also likely to get at least three wild card entries for Olympics in shooting, athletics and swimming.