LAHORE: Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) has rescheduled the training camp for the Paris Olympics Qualifiers due to various reasons.
The camp, which was earlier scheduled to begin from December 2, will now start on December 15. “We rescheduled the camp as some fighters were on leave and there were some other matters which we needed to dispose of. We also had to get approval from the general council which we did the other day,” PBF secretary Col Nasir Tung told The News on Wednesday.
Two venues are on the radar of the PBF for the camp. “We are trying to manage a venue. Our priority will be the WAPDA Sports Complex and we have also written a letter to them today. If there is any issue then we will hold the camp at the Railways facility in Garhi Shahu,” Nasir said.
He also revealed the names of the boxers who will be kept in the camp which will be handled by coaches Arshad Hussain and Tariq Siddiqui. The male boxers are Asian bronze medallist Zohaib Rasheed, Azhar, Mohammad Ilyas, Mohammad Qasim, Mohibullah, Ibrahim, Sanaullah and Zeeshan.
Five female boxers have been invited for the camp: international Fatima Zehra, England-based Laura, Malaika, Maria and Ayesha. Laura attended the trials and impressed the selectors. She belongs to Azad Kashmir but is settled in England.
“She is a good fighter,” Nasir said. “We will pick top three among boys for the Qualifiers after a series of training sessions,” he said.
“We will focus on those boys who are capable of pressing for the Olympics seats. We will give some exposure to the boys before the Qualifiers. Our boxers need quality sparring and that’s the only way to develop them. They have the potential and they have proved that in the Hangzhou Asian Games,” Nasir said.
The 1st World Qualification tournament will be hosted by Italy in Basto Arzizio from February 29 to March 12, 2024. The 2nd World Qualification tournament will be staged in Bangkok from May 23 to June 3.
The Hangzhou Asian Games was the first qualifying round where Pakistani boxers failed to advance beyond the quarter-finals. Pakistan’s chief coach and Olympian Arshad Hussain told The News that all boxers who are on the radar of the PBF for the camp are the best.
“It’s the best lot,” Arshad told The News. “We have also invited Ilyas who had quit boxing after the last year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games due to some family issues. Now he is ready to return and we welcome him. He is a fine fighter,” he said. Ilyas had fallen in the quarter-finals in Birmingham.
“We will also check how fit Sanaullah is. I hope this time we will return to the Olympics fold. The way our boxers performed against the world and Olympics champions in Hangzhou Asian Games has created qualification hope for us,” Arshad said.