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Tuesday June 18, 2024

Pak boxers leave for Bangkok Olympics qualifiers

By Alam Zeb Safi
May 22, 2024
The representational image shows a boxer. — AFP/File
The representational image shows a boxer. — AFP/File

LAHORE: A small Pakistan’s boxing squad was scheduled to leave for Bangkok on Tuesday night to feature in the World Qualification event 2 for this year’s Paris Olympics.

The event is scheduled to be held in Thailand’s capital from May 23 to June 3. Mohammad Faheem (51kg) and New York-based Jehanzeb Rizwan (71kg) are set to feature in the event.

Faheem and coach Tariq Siddiqi on Tuesday night were set to leave for Bangkok. They will be joined by Rizwan who is coming from New York. “Yes Rizwan is also traveling to Bangkok tonight,” a Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) official told The News.

Fatima Zehra was also expected to be part of the touring party but this correspondent has learnt that she was dropped because of financial issues. “Yes she is not going,” the official said.

This is the final chance for national fighters to press for Olympics. Coach Tariq Siddiqui will be handling the national squad in international circuit after 19 years.

Under his coaching a handful of boxers qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympics. That was the last time Pakistan boxers qualified for Olympics. Tariq on Tuesday said that his charges will do their best.

“Yes both fighters are very good. Faheem is aggressive and the best thing about him is that he has also improved his skills and hopefully he will do his best,” Tariq said. “Rizwan had also come here and I saw him and he is also not bad. It would be great if clicked,” Tariq said.

The world’s top boxers have already qualified and this event will offer opportunities to the rest to press for the Olympics seats. “Yes it’s the case and let’s see how it goes,” Tariq said.

Pakistani boxers last year failed to qualify for the Paris Olympics after they flopped in the Hangzhou Asian Games which were the first qualifying event for the Paris Olympics. This was the first time that Asian Games were awarded the qualifying status. And a couple of months back in Italy’s World Qualification Tournament 1 Pakistani fighters again failed to click. It was an eventful event for Pakistan as its top fighter and Olympics hope Zohaib Rasheed ditched the country by vanishing just ahead of the formal kick-off of the qualifiers.

A PBF official said that they have deposited 6720 US dollars as accommodation fee besides tickets. The PBF held a camp here at the PSB Coaching Centre which was handled by both Tariq and Arshad Hussain.