Friday August 12, 2022

Commonwealth Games: PBF confirms three boxers, fate of two yet to be decided

May 26, 2022

KARACHI: Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) on Wednesday finalised three boxers, two male and one female, for the Commonwealth Games while the fate of the two more fighters will be decided soon for the quadrennial event which will be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8.

A senior official of the PBF told 'The News' that due to a couple of upsets in the Inter-departmental event which concluded at Lahore on Tuesday, the federation has not been able to decide which two boxers to add to the decided three.

"Nazeerullah and Suleman Baloch won golds in their respective weights in the national event on Tuesday. They were not among the initial probable boxers for the Commonwealth Games whose accreditation cards have been prepared. We have now requested the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) to manage accreditation cards for them," PBF secretary Col Nasir Tung told 'The News' from Lahore.

"If the accreditation cards are issued to these two then we will send them to Birmingham. Otherwise we will send Sanaullah and Mohibullah who lost the finals on Tuesday to these two boxers, respectively," Nasir said.

"The three names which have been confirmed for the Commonwealth Games are Zohaib Rasheed (48-51kg), Ilyas Hussain (54-57kg) and Mehreen Baloch (54-57kg)," Nasir said.

Karachi-born Zohaib, who belongs to Navy, a few months ago won bronze in the Asian Under-22 Championship in Tashkent. He defeated Sajid Rasheed of Navy in the 48-52kg final on Tuesday to qualify for the Commonwealth Games.

Ilyas, who belongs to Army, on Tuesday defeated Syed Kamil of PBF in the 54-57kg final to ensure his entry in the quadrennial event.

Nazeerullah of Army defeated highly experienced Sanaullah of WAPDA in the 86-92kg final while Suleman Baloch of Army prevailed over Mohibullah of WAPDA in the 60-63.5 kg final in the inter-departmental event which also served as trials for finalising fighters for the Commonwealth Games. If finalised it will be a new-look team for the Commonwealth Games.

In the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Asif Hazara, Ali Ahmed, Gul Zeb and Awais Ali Khan represented Pakistan.

The PBF now plans to set up training camp for the Birmingham-bound squad in the next few days in Rawalpindi.

"Yes, we plan to hold the camp as soon as possible. We are currently analysing the prevailing political situation and will decide in a couple of days about the camp," Nasir said.

"Lahore could be an option but the issue is that it is very hot these days there. At the Army Sports Complex in Rawalpindi training can be done with ease as there are cooling arrangements and the environment there is fine," Nasir said.

"We have decided to keep 12 male and three women boxers in the camp," he was quick to add.

Nasir said that the PBF also plans to send its Birmingham-bound four male boxers to Kazakhstan for training. "The tour is very important and we are planning for that. IBA intends to begin the 2024 Paris Olympics Qualifiers at the end of this year and we would like to prepare a solid lot for that also," Nasir said.

After featuring in the Commonwealth Games, national pugilists will come back directly from Birmingham as boxing is not part of the Islamic Games pencilled in for August 8-19 in Konya, Turkey.