KARACHI: Pakistani boxer Mohib Bacha and his teammates are still confident of making it to the 2016 Olympics even though they will now have to take the far more difficult route of the AIBA World Olympic Qualifier, due to the Pakistan Sports Board’s (PSB) refusal to release funds for their long planned visit to China, where the Asia-Oceania Olympics qualifiers are currently taking place.
The Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) and PSB had set up a year-long camp for the 10 pugilists hoping to represent Pakistan at Rio 2016. The group was all set to depart for China before PSB pulled the plug on March 23.
Like others, Bacha was also disappointed with the decision as his hopes of adding to his 2016 South Asian Games silver medal were dashed.
However, the 26-year-old has urged his teammates to lift their spirits and look forward to the 2016 AIBA World Olympic Qualifier in June before pleading the government to show some interest in boxing — one of the few sports in which Pakistan has a genuine chance of securing Olympic qualification.
“We’ve got to get over this,” Bacha told The Express Tribune. “I’ll be picking up my gloves again and try to keep myself fit for World qualifiers. What else have I got if I won’t train for it?”
He then urged the authorities to do right by them in June. “I hope the government sends us this time,” added Bacha. “World qualifiers will be tougher than the Asian round for sure, but I know that out of the 10 of us, at least two or three can get through to the Olympics.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2016.
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