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PBF may send boxers to Uzbekistan for training ahead of Asian Games

April 13, 2018

GOLD COAST: The performance of the Pakistani boxers in the 21st Commonwealth Games left a question mark over the future of the sport in which the country once had a strong position, writes Alam Zeb Safi.

The Asian Games to be held in Indonesia from August 18 to September 2 will be Pakistan’s next target, which will be even more challenging than the Gold Coast event.Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) does not seem confident but has plans to send boxers abroad for a couple of months training ahead of the Asian Games.

“Definitely the Asian Games will be tougher than the Commonwealth Games as countries like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan will also be part of that event,” the PBF president Khalid Mehmood told ‘The News’ during an informal chat here on Thursday. “We plan to send at least four boxers to Uzbekistan for two months training after Ramadan,” he added.

“We are in contact with Uzbekistan and hopefully the tour will be arranged,” Khalid said. When asked why only four boxers would be sent, he said that it would all depend on the budget. “We will see how we could manage; without money you cannot do anything. We will contact the top officials of the ministry of inter-provincial coordination (IPC) and the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).

The four boxers who represented Pakistan in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast played an international event after around one year and that gap showed in their performance. The last international event they played was Islamic Games in May 2017 in Baku. They failed there as they had in Tashkent Asian Championships. Of the lot, only Awais Ali Khan had managed to qualify for the Hamburg World Championships when he beat an Indian boxer in the box-off fight in the continental event in Tashkent.

In the last Asian Games held in Incheon, South Korea, in 2014, Mohammad Waseem, who later turned professional, won a bronze medal. Waseem won silver in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Since then, no Pakistani boxer has done anything impressive.

In the eight-year era of Doda Bhutto as PBF president boxing was damaged significantly. The current regime under Khalid has spent around 15 months in office. Khalid said that they would try to rope in a foreign coach as soon as possible. “We need a foreign coach and again the issue is how we will finance that project,” the PBF chief added.

He said that they needed to broaden the base. Youth events at local level would be needed, he said. The Board can only give 2500 dollars for hiring a foreign coach.The PBF would not be able to get the services of a foreign coach if it did not contribute to the cause through sponsorships.

A few days ago Pakistan’s former star boxer Mohammad Waseem told this correspondent that the PBF must take decisions based on merit. Waseem was not satisfied with the boxers who had been fielded in the Commonwealth Games. All four Pakistan boxers in Gold Coast failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals.