ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) will field seven pugilists in the final world qualifying round for Rio Olympics hoping to seal a couple of tickets for the world’s most prestigious multi-sports event.
The qualifiers will be held at Baku, Azerbaijan, from June 16 to 25.
“Yes, we’ll send seven boxers to Baku to appear in the Olympic qualifier round in different weight categories,” PBF secretary Iqbal Hussain told APP.
The world qualifiers offer last chance to Pakistani boxers to make the cut for the 2016 Games. Iqbal said the federation was well aware of the fact that this would be the last opportunity for the country’s pugilists to claim Rio tickets. Hence, they were being given tough training at a camp at the Pakistan Sports Complex, Islamabad, he added.
“Currently, 20 boxers are undergoing extensive training at the camp under national boxing coach Arshad Hussain,” he further said.
AIBA three-star coach Arshad is being assisted by former international and AIBA one-star coach Nisar Khan.
Though Iqbal said that the final line-up for Baku qualifiers would be announced during the ongoing week, sources in the PBF revealed that the federation had already finalised six pugilists for the event.
“It is almost decided that Awais Ali Khan (81kg), Mohammad Tanveer (75kg), Amir Khan (69kg), Ali Ahmed (60kg), Niamatullah (56kg) and Mohammad Asif (52kg) will be vying in the event to fulfill their Olympic dream,” he said.
However, the federation has two to three choices for 64kg category, including the US-born Umar Cheema who has arrived in Pakistan. “Cheema may be picked up for the qualifiers as he seems in great shape,” said the source.
If picked the 21-year old who has trained in Miami would be the first US-born boxer to represent Pakistan in an international event.
Courtesy : Dawn News