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Monday February 06, 2023

PBF seeks corporate help for Olympic qualifiers

January 26, 2023

KARACHI: Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) has approached some highly renowned companies and requested them to own the country's top boxers who are set to press for 2024 Paris Olympics seats.

“You know the PBF is in deep financial stress. We have eight or nine quality boxers who can press for Olympics seats and that is why we have approached renowned companies to back these fighters in their preparation for the Olympic Qualifiers,” the PBF secretary general Col (retd) Nasir Tung told 'The News' on Wednesday.

As per the new boxing Olympics qualifying pathway, the Hangzhou Asian Games 2023, to be held from September 23 to October 8, will serve as qualifying round for the Paris Olympics. And then in 2024 two world qualifying rounds will be conducted.

“Look we have some fine boxers, including Zohaib Rasheed, Zakir, Ilyas Hussain and Sanaullah, who can qualify,” Nasir said.

“Zohaib has emerged as a great asset. He won two bronze medals at the Asian level last year which is a great achievement,” he added. “Zohaib has everything in him and he just needs experience which will come with exposure. But the issue is that we don't have money as the government is not backing us. We have tried our best to ensure participation of our boxers in the mandatory events. We cannot send fighters to every event and if the corporate sector backs the top boxers then certainly we can produce some fine results in the Olympic qualifiers,” Nasir said.

Zohaib, who belongs to Lyari area of Karachi, won bronze in the Asian Under-22 Championship in Tashkent in January 2022. He then went on to win bronze in the Asian Championship held in November in Amman, Jordan, 2022.

“We recently sent Talha, the new national champion, to Thailand for the Under-22 Asian Championship where he lost to an Uzbek boxer in the quarter-final. The availability of dollars these days is a big issue as no body is ready to give you dollars and so sending a team abroad is more difficult,” Nasir said.

“Despite no support we are sending our boxers for international events, events are organised at the domestic level and we have even earned international medals,” he said.

“India is preparing well. Even Nepal and Sri Lanka keep sending solid squads to the Asian events. Sri Lanka's financial condition is even worse than us but I don't know why there is no one to back sports here,” Nasir lamented.

“There is no shortcut in sports. You need to provide constant exposure to your athletes. Only then can you expect something from them. What our boxers need is exposure and for that we need money. It would be great if the government backed us,” he said.

Nasir said that the camp for the Asian Games would be held after the inter-departmental event to be conducted in Karachi either from February 28 or March 3.

He said that the mainstream boxers are in constant training as they get regular inter-unit events in various departments. “And when we hold the camp for the Asian Games we will get fighters in good shape,” Nasir said.

He ruled out any chance of hiring a foreign coach. “It's not possible in this situation,” he said. “Yes, several countries are ready to host our boxers for their training but how to send them is a big issue,” Nasir added.

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