Wednesday February 28, 2024

Top boxers to begin training in Lahore on December 2

November 28, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan’s top boxers will assemble here on December 2 to kick-start their preparation for the next year’s Paris Olympics Qualifiers.

“We plan to establish a camp from December 2 at WAPDA Sports Complex, Lahore. We are inviting ten boxers and two coaches, Arshad Hussain and Tariq Siddiqui,” Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) secretary Col Nasir Tung told The News on Monday.

“Holding a camp was our top priority and after that we will plan where to send our boxers for training. We will try to send top three or four boxers abroad in order to provide them with quality training ahead of the Olympic Qualifiers,” Nasir said.

Representational image. — AFP
Representational image. — AFP

“We will try to field boxers in the flyweight category where we have top boxer Zohaib Rasheed. We also have a chance in bantamweight and we also have Ilyas and Qasim in featherweight and a couple of more weights are also on our radar,” Nasir said.

“Coaches have suggested us five weight categories and from there we will get top three and will send them abroad for training as our aim is to qualify for the Olympics. We will make our top effort,” Nasir was quick to add.

“In January in Spain there is a preparatory event and we are looking whether it is possible for us to send two or three boys there for training. It will help them learn before the qualifiers,” he said.

Nasir said that they have a chance this time to return to the Olympic fold. “Look, we have a chance. You saw our boys in the Asian Games in Hangzhou where they played very well. The only difference is international exposure. Zohaib Rasheed played extraordinarily against the world champion. In Pakistan we did not get the type of training we required as some of our fighters who knew that they were not in the Asian Games squad left the camp and that is why we will be looking how to send them abroad for sparring and quality training,” Nasir said.

“We will focus on a small pool of boxers for the Olympic Qualifiers so that we could provide them with enough facilities within our limited resources,” he said.

“Qasim also played very well on debut in the Asian Games and so did Ibrahim. Both Qasim and Ibrahim had debut event but the way they played at the major stage gave us hope for the future,” he said.

“We also wrote a letter to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) yesterday requesting it to facilitate us in our plans to prepare and field our boxers in the Olympic Qualifiers. I also plan to go to Islamabad and meet the PSB’s top officials,” 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.

Nasir also revealed that a couple of England-based female boxers have approached the PBF. “A couple of female boxers from England have approached us. They are from Central London. We told them to come and play with our female boxers and if they show potential then definitely we will keep them in our future plans,” Nasir said. “One is Laura, who has also shared with us her bio-data, and the other is Safia if I don’t forget,” Nasir said.