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January 25, 2020

Pak boxers get more time as coronavirus causes Asian qualifiers postponement

Sports

January 25, 2020

KARACHI: National boxers will get an extra month for training as the Asian and Oceania boxing qualifiers for 2020 Olympics have been postponed due to outbreak of flu-like coronavirus in Wuhan, China.

The qualifiers were slated to be held from February 4-14 in Wuhan. “Yes, today we have received an email from the IOC task force, making it clear that the event has been delayed until March 3,” Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) secretary Col Nasir Tung told The News on Friday.

However, he was quick to add that the decision about the venue is yet to be taken. Nasir said that it was a blessing for their boxers as they would get one month extra time to prepare for the tough competitions.

“We were all set to send our boxers. On January 20 we had received an email, a form of green signal and today it has been confirmed that the qualifiers have been delayed but where these will be held now will be known in few days,” the official said.

A dozen top boxers of Pakistan have been training at the Army Sports Complex in Rawalpindi since the start of this month under the supervision of AIBA 3-star coach Arshad Hussain.

Arshad told The News on Friday that the delay was really a good one for them. “We are very happy as we got enough time for preparation now. The boys are fit and in a couple of days they will be sent to their homes so that they could bring their security clearance certificates from their respective areas police stations. Its one of the requirements for China visa now,” Arshad said.

He said he would revise his plans now how to work further. After featuring in the continental qualifiers, Pakistani boxers will have another opportunity of qualifying for Olympics when they take part in the world qualifiers to be held in Paris in May.

After imposing sanctions on the world boxing governing body (AIBA), the IOC task force is handling the Olympic boxing matters. Pakistani boxers last featured in Olympic boxing in 2004 in Athens. In the Asian qualifiers, national boxers will need to make it to the quarter-finals if they want to give a breakthrough.