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January 7, 2020

Pak boxers likely to train abroad for qualifiers

Sports

January 7, 2020

KARACHI: National boxers may get a foreign training opportunity ahead of the World Qualifying round which will be held in May at a venue yet to be decided.

“We want to continue the training camp which we started for Asian qualifying round until the world qualifying round,” PBF president Khalid Mehmood told ‘The News’ from Lahore on Monday. “Definitely effort is being made to also manage a foreign tour for the top pugilists ahead of the world qualifying round,” he added.

Pakistani boxers are training at the Army Sports Complex in Rawalpindi for the Asian qualifying round for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be held in China’s city Wuhan from February 3-14.

“Those boxers who deliver their best in the China qualifiers will then be fielded in the world qualifying round,” Khalid said. “We are in contact with a few sponsors and hopefully if we get assistance then definitely boxers will be benefitted,” he said. He said that four or five fighters would be fielded in the continental qualifying round.

Khalid said that boxers will be sent to China for the Asian qualifying round three days before the event. Pakistan last featured in Olympic boxing in 2004 Athens Games.

Khalid also disclosed that the PBF had been trying to have its professional league launched this year. “We are in contact with people and hopefully we will have our professional league this year. It will be an AIBA-approved league and its boxers will also be eligible to play amateur boxing,” the official said.

AIBA 3-star coach and former Olympian Arshad Hussain is supervising the Rawalpindi camp. It is pertinent to mention here that the Asian qualifying round will also feature fighters from Oceania states such as Australia and New Zealand.

So far five Pakistani players have qualified for the Olympics: shooters Gulfam Joseph, Ghulam Mustafa Bashir, and Khalil Akhtar, javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem and Usman Khan (in equestrian).

Judoka Shah Hussain and karateka Saadi Abbas are also in line, having a chance to make it to the extravaganza to be held next summer. Taekwondo fighter Haroon Khan is also in the race for a Tokyo 2020 seat.

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