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April 6, 2020

Olympics delay a blessing for Pak boxers: former Asian champion

Sports

April 6, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan’s highly experienced coach and former Asian gold medallist and two-time Asian Games bronze medallist Ali Bakhsh on Sunday said that the delay in Olympics is a blessing for the country’s boxing, stressing that the authorities should focus now on four top boxers for the World Qualifying round.

“Yes, it’s good and a sort of blessing for Pakistan that Olympics have been delayed but this opportunity should be fully exploited,” Ali told ‘The News’ in an interview.

“If not more, at least four top boxers should be given top training. Training in Pakistan will not help them develop and qualify for Olympics,” said Ali, who claimed gold in the 1980 Asian Championship in Mumbai.

“But for that new selection should be made. You cannot send any boxer on the performance of the Asian qualifying round because of the long gap and you will need to conduct fresh trials or hold a national-level event so that the best boxers could get a chance to compete in world qualifiers,” Ali stressed.

Pakistan had fielded three boxers in the Asian and Oceania Qualifying round held in Jordan last month. They failed to leave any impression, exiting in the first round.

The world qualifying round was scheduled in Paris in May but due to COVID-19 pandemic fresh dates will be issued. Ali said that once the situation of COVID-19 becomes clear Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) should send the cream abroad for training.

However, he was quick to add that without state input it would not be easy to impart quality training on foreign soil to the boxers.

“The government should support boxing. It is the most important discipline which has brought a large number of medals home,” said Ali, who claimed bronze medals in the 1978 Bangkok Asian Games and 1982 Delhi Asian Games.

He said Pakistan had a bunch of good boxers but effort should be made to work on their weaknesses. “Those boxers who went to Jordan for Asian qualifiers have weak points and those should be removed,” Ali said.

He was not happy with the way boxing is being managed in Sindh. “Lyari’s boxing has lost its glory and it is because of the way Sindh boxing is being managed. Karachi once produced top boxers but the situation has changed. In the last two national championships and Peshawar National Games no Lyari boxer won gold and it’s disappointing,” Ali said.

“We don’t know who is running Sindh boxing. There is no active club in interior Sindh but still votes come from there. Club scrutiny is very important for bringing genuine people to the association,” Ali pointed out.

“Look, in era of Professor Anwar Chowdhry, the association used to give clubs in Lyari and other parts of Karachi gloves and other equipment but we don’t see such things now. You see some events here in Sindh but the way these events are conducted they cannot benefit boxing,” Ali said.

He said that in Balochistan boxing is good. “Talent still comes from Balochistan as those people are working and are fond of boxing,” Ali said.

“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has nothing solid as an individual is controlling boxing there. Punjab is working as talent comes from there but maybe they face issue in coaching which prevents their boxers from stabilising their careers,” Ali said.